Anti-LGBTQ Bill: NDC Caucus in Parliament to investigate why MPs were denied visa
The leadership of the Minority in Parliament has indicated that they have commenced an exercise to audit its lead advocates and Members of Parliament (MPs) who have been denied visas by some foreign embassies in the country.
The exercise, they say, is to ascertain the linkage of the visa denial to their position on the proposed anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, queer plus (LGBTQ+) that some in the Minority has been championing.
The Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, has warned that his group will not hesitate to embark on a campaign against embassies who are found to have denied visas to MPs in relation to the anti-LGBTQ+ Bill.
Some Minority MPs have been championing the proposed Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values 2021 Bill, otherwise known as the Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill, which among other things, seeks to criminalise LGBTQ+ identity and rights advocacy in the country.
Crusaders of the anti- LGBTQ+ bill, along with the criminalisation of persons in the LGBTQ+ communities, are also seeking a jail term of at least five years for such people.
They are of the conviction that LGBTQ+ identity and advocacy are alien to the country’s cultural norms and values, and are also frowned upon by all major religious groups in Ghana.
However, prior to the parliamentary discussions of the bill, it is emerging that some MPs are being denied visas to some countries including the Netherlands, a situation the Minority Chief Whip has said would be unfortunate if a connection is found between visa denial and support for the bill.
“The leadership of the Minority is auditing our members, especially those who have been denied visas, and establish whether it had anything to do with their stance on the anti-LGBTQ+ Bill before Parliament,” he disclosed.
“If it comes out that they were denied visas because of the bill, then we as a Minority will start a crusade against such embassies and their interest in Ghana,” Mubarak said in an interview with Joy FM.
“In fact, we will boycott anything relating to them in Parliament even if they are providing water or healthcare services to Ghana because, for me, it is a clear case of disrespect to Parliament,” he warned.
The Tamale North MP, Alhassan Suhuyini, who is one of the signatories to the Private Member’s Bill seeking to criminalise LGBTQ+ identity has confirmed that the Netherlands embassy denied him a visa.
According to him, the embassy explained that id did believe Suhuyini would return to Ghana, although he submitted all relevant documents to support his application.
“For the Netherlands to ignore my status as an MP with the responsibility to an entire constituency, which was known to them…my valid travel visas to the UK and USA and my numerous previous travel records, which indicate I have never overstayed any visit abroad.
My beautiful family, and deny me an entry visa on the basis that, there was insufficient evidence…that I have significant social or economic ties to my country to prompt my return after my intended visit, could only have been deliberately taken to provoke me and also undermine Ghanaian state officials and diplomats,” he said.
Joy News claims to have learned that the children of one of the proponents of the bill were denied visas to travel abroad by one of the foreign missions in the country.
Meanwhile, the Asawase MP Mubarak has stated that no amount of intimidation and threats would stop the legislatures from passing the anti-LGBTQ Bill pending before parliament.
Speaking on Kumasi-based Abusua 96.5 FM last week, he said, Parliament was aware of plans to deny lead advocates of the anti-LGBTQ Bill travel visa by some foreign embassies in the country.
He warned that he would lead a demonstration for closure of any embassy that would MPs travel visas because of their advocacy for LGBTQ+ activities in the country to be criminalised.
“It’s against the constitution of Ghana for any member of parliament to be punished for expressing his or her opinion on national issues in the house of parliament. So, therefore, no embassy can punish any MP in this country to kowtow to their wish,” he explained.