General News of Monday, 4 February 2013
Government has admitted that His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama met and interacted with Andrew Solomon, an acclaimed US author and a renowned gay activist, when the former was then Vice-President; quite contrary to the earlier report that the two have no prior close relationship.
Andrew Solomon is the founder of the Solomon Research Fellowship for the rights of lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender and is alleged to have raised funds for President Mahama's 2012 campaign after paying 20,000 dollars for a copy of the president’s book launched in New York last year.
Information Minister, Mahama Ayariga, on Friday at a press conference held in Accra, distanced the president from the renowned gay lobbyist saying the meeting between the two during the President’s book launch was purely coincidental.
Speaking at the news conference, Mahama Ayariga described "the attempt to impute or infer or to try to create an impression that Andrew Solomon is carrying his activism as a gay right activists to Ghana" as "totally unfounded".
“The President is to execute the laws of Ghana. And the laws of Ghana are very clear on homosexuality. The laws of Ghana appall and criminalise homosexuality, there is no dispute about that. Homosexual conduct which is unnatural carnal knowledge of one person or another is criminal and punishable by the laws of Ghana,” he told the media.
According to him, the meeting between the President and Andrew Solomon was purely coincidental.
Flatly denying any such links, he explained that “it was pure accident that Mr. Andrew Solomon was a moderator at the book launch of His Excellency the president in New York. As you would know, the president chose to launch his book in the US and it was launched at four different places in the US.”
He further disclosed that organisers of the book launch in New York “settled on Andrew Solomon purely, purely because of his acclaim in writing, journalism and authorship. He’s written several books. He’s reported for several media houses in the US. He’s received several awards in connection with his profession.”
But in a statement issued on Sunday, the Information Minister, in an interesting twist said the earlier information he churned out was “not entirely accurate”. He however emphasized that the president’s position on homosexuality still remains exactly as it is; that the act is criminal and punishable under the laws of the country.
“I briefed the media during the week on the matter of the relationship between Andrew Solomon, an acclaimed author in the United States of America, and His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama. I denied any prior close relationship between the two of them. Subsequently, it has come to my knowledge that this is not entirely accurate.
In keeping with my commitment to provide accurate and reliable information about Government and the Presidency to the public, let me affirm that our then Vice President had a prior meeting with Andrew Solomon in furtherance of the former’s book writing project before the book launch event at which Andrew Solomon acted as a moderator.
For the avoidance of doubt, I wish to state that President John Dramani Mahama does not subscribe to homosexualism and will not take any step to promote homosexualism in Ghana,” the statement read.
The statement also highlighted why the Mahama administration chose to set up a Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and the nomination of Nana Oye Lithur as the sector Minister.
Mr Ayariga explained that “the President’s appointment of Nana Oye Lithur is based purely on her competence and experience”, adding that she is expected to “implement government policy as formulated by the Constitution, Cabinet, Parliament or any other such authorized institution”.