Africa-Press – Ghana. One of the sponsors of the the Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, popularly known as the Anti-Gay Bill, Samuel Nartey George is livid over the inability of Parliament to consider the bill today Wednesday, December 6 as scheduled.
He said that the Chair of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee Kwame Anyimadu-Antwi refused to show up in Parliament to allow for the process to be commenced.
“Mr Anyimadu-Antwi also refused to answer calls placed to him to enquire about his whereabouts,” Sam Goege added.
Speaking to journalists in Parliament, the Ningo-Prampram lawmaker said “As sponsors of the bill, we are livid and angry at the conduct in the chamber today. This morning, Speaker Alban Bagbin called and said to all of us as sponsors that the consideration of the amendment was going to be taken today. When we got to Parliament he said again to indicate that he wanted for all of us to be present.
“Since 8:00 this morning, we have been calling the chairman of the committee but he refuses to pick up the call, he is not returning the call. The Ranking Member of the committee, Bernard Ahiafor has been present in Parliament since 10:00am and was in the chamber when the mace came in with the Speaker ready for us to handle this. The Speaker came in earlier this morning and indicated that he was going to take only one urgent question and then take the laying of papers and that it was a very important bill that had to be dealt with.
“The Speaker indicated that he also had a meeting he had to attend. When the Speaker called the first Deputy Speaker, Joseph Osei Owusu, to take the chair he indicated to him to finish with questioning and proceed to take our bill, the anti-LGBTQI bill. In fact, when Mr Speaker went into his lobby, Honorable Helen Ntorso and Hon Dela Sowah followed up with the Speaker to find out from him, if the bill would still be taken, the Speaker Rt. Honorable Alban Bagbin indicated that he had instructed the First Deputy Speaker to start the consideration and that when he finished with his meeting, he was going to come back to complete the consideration stage. Our frustration is that this is not the first time this is happening, this is not the second, this is the third time the Speaker has given such an instruction and it has been disregarded in his absence.”
He added “We need to understand from the Majority side, what their issues with the bill are. We need to understand those who take the chair when the Speaker gives the instructions what their opposition to the bill is. We are very well aware of people in leadership on the Majority side who are reaching out to the sponsors of the bill asking us to step down the bill. Is that why the Majority side is fighting against the bill? The excuse given today that the chairman of the committee is not in the chamber, so we can’t take the amendment is alien to the practice of this House because the ranking member was present.
“Even government bills when the chairman is not present, the ranking member is able to take the amendment that comes in the name of the chairman, because amendments of the committee always stand in the name of the chair. The amendments, about 43 of them, that have been tabled are amendments that have been agreed upon between us as sponsors and the committee so they won’t stand in my name, they will stand in the name of the committee chair but it doesn’t mean that only the committee chair can move it. If the government business, the ranking member can move the amendment, how is it that in a private members’ bill, when the private members say that they are comfortable with the private member moving the bill, the sit-in Speaker says we can’t take the bill because the chairman is not there.”
Regarding the passage of this bill, Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said that Parliament would pass the Bill.
Speaking at a Leaders’ Media Briefing in Parliament on Tuesday, November 7, he assured that the House would find space for its consideration.
“If we are not able to deal with it this meeting, we have to deal with it in the early part of the next succeeding meeting, which will be the First Meeting of the Fourth Session,” the Suame lawmaker said.