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Opinions of Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Columnist: Bonsu, Akua

Homosexuality in Ghana and a Nonchalant President

Akua Bonsu

Where did all these Homosexuals suddenly spring from? How come they are so vocal now? What makes Ghana’s current environment conducive to their sudden bravery? Is homosexuality a crime? Is it a sin? And if so, why is it that a president who cannot utter five straight words without including the name of God in that phrase so indifferent about the menace posed by homosexuality? Should we lend credence to a slip-up from an administration insider that gays constitute the president’s “secret constituency?”

At first I looked at the ongoing saga of homosexuality’s sudden prominence in Ghana, the lackluster approach with which President Mills has thus far addressed the menace, and the recent suggestions of homosexual people in high places in his administration with amusement. My first reaction was how could this be? A country as socially conservative as Ghana would have a homosexual president? Surely someone would have said something during the three occasions that Mills has run for president.

But there is that instrumental perplexity associated with homosexuality whereby a person can live literally an entire life in the closet until either someone accidentally opens the closet, or the closet door bursts open. And the opening of the closet door usually follows a distinctly patterned process. Rumors begin to swirl followed by a deafening silence from the one most people want to hear from. Then when the silence is broken, it is with a flat denial along with a threat to pursue court action against anyone peddling the rumors. Then finally, when the closet cannot hold any more secrets, the truth comes out in a vividly and-so-what tone.

Could we be witnessing such a process unfold? Already some steps in this process have been reached and surpassed. The rumors have been swirling around for some time now. Although one of the people mentioned in the rumor has skipped the silence step and issued a stern warning to would-be rumor mongers. But thus far the president has been silent, the second step in the process. And so we wait.

The potential of the president of one of the most high profile African countries subscribing to a questionable sexual orientation is too important to shy away from. Without a doubt it is a difficult discussion to hold. But so is the one about whether a president is doing a good job or not, has a child out of wedlock, or is an alcoholic. These are individuals who voluntarily stepped forward to lead public life. Thus the notion that aspects of their private lives are out of bounds is without merit. Of course the president can put an end to this immediately by addressing the allegations even if thinly veiled.