Editor's note: The Star newspaper was the first to publish this opinion article on March 18, 2024. Read it here.

On February 28, Ghana's parliament approved the Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, a legislative move that significantly infringes on fundamental human rights. 

The Bill imposes harsher sentences for the LGBTQ+ community. It has a jail term of up to three years for anyone convicted of identifying as LGBTQ+. It also sets a maximum five-year jail term for forming or funding LGBTQ+ groups.

The Bill awaits President Nana Akufo-Addo's assent to become law.

Ghana's lawmakers took the cue from their Ugandan counterparts, who, on February 28, 2023, passed legislation that entrenched the criminalisation of same-sex conduct. The 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Act creates new offences that now curtail any activism on LGBTQ+ issues, with the punishment including life imprisonment.

Back home, a few months before Uganda passed the world's strictest anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, MP Peter Kaluma submitted the Family Protection Bill 2023, which could have led to 50-year prison sentences for "non-consensual same-sex acts".

A critical analysis reveals that these bills might have originated from one source, whose aim is to promote a raft of homophobic laws in Kenya, Ghana and Uganda, and potentially everywhere in Africa.

The language of the respective bills appeared related. Words such as 'family values' have been used to hoodwink the public into supporting the bills, yet they continue to spread anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment across the continent.

We see the hands of Western Evangelical groups in this growing onslaught against LGBTQ+ communities in Africa. This influence, often masked under the guise of missionary work or aid programmes, has led to a surge in homophobic attitudes and regressive policies across the continent.

According to an investigation by openDemocracy, over 20 United States Christian groups have poured at least $54 million (Sh7.4 billion) into Africa since 2007 to influence laws, policies and public opinion against sexual and reproductive rights. 

This substantial financial backing has empowered these groups to work closely with African lawmakers to push for legislation aligned with their conservative agendas. The alignment of some African clergy and lawmakers with Western groups highlights the complex dynamics where financial incentives may outweigh local rights and well-being. 

  • Adrian Kibe

    Adrian Kibe, an aspiring lawyer with a Justice and Security Studies foundation, is a committed LGBTQ+ advocate with expertise in research, project coordination, and paralegal work. He played a pivotal role in formulating a curriculum for transgender peer educators and spearheaded empowerment initiatives within the LGBTQ+ community. Kibe has authored articles on transgender rights, actively contributing to informed discussions and awareness. Engaged in opposition mitigation, litigation, and LGBTQ+ rights advocacy, he stands at the forefront of the movement. Additionally, Kibe co-founded Our Voices KE, an initiative fostering open dialogue and creating informative content tailored for transgender individuals.