An LGBT group in Ghana has urged Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur to come out, despite his insisting that he is not gay.
Vice President Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur
Dr Henry Nii Ojengba Coleman, National Co-ordinator for The Ghana Gay and Lesbian Forum, said that Amissah-Arthur “must not be ashamed of being gay”.
Coleman commented in a statement released last Friday that he is “really excited that for the first time in the history of our country, the ruling NDC [party] has broken the yoke of oppression and has transformed the political landscape by selecting a gay man to be the Vice President of Ghana”.
He went on to say that “we are beyond ourselves with joy, excitement and we are proud to celebrate Africa’s first gay Vice President and potentially future first gay President, Paa Kwesi Amissah-Arthur.”
The group condemned media attacks against Amissah-Arthur, who is married to a woman with two children, following reports that he had a gay affair with an old schoolmate.
The Vice President has, however, insisted that the claims are false. “It is not true, it is absolutely not true. I have not seen this gentleman for 40 something years. I saw him once just for about two minutes. He came to my house to ask for money and I gave him a little money and I have not seen him again.
“It absolutely cannot be true of the claims that are being made,” Amissah-Arthur, formerly Governor of the Bank of Ghana, stated in Parliament in August.
The Ghana Gay and Lesbian Forum, which claims to have 5,000 members, is not convinced and urged him to speak out against the injustices perpetrated against LGBT people and to tell “Ghanaians there is no shame in loving another man as he has done before”.
Coleman added: “His silence is a worry to us as he has attended previous meetings we have held twice when he was governor of Bank of Ghana and at these meetings he always promised to protect our interests. We hope as Vice President he will speak up for us.”
Under Ghanaian criminal law, consensual same-sex sexual activity among males is illegal with penalties including imprisonment for three years.