Vigilante Media? – By Osabutey Anny
British Prime Minister David Cameron last week rekindled an old flame. Not exactly in the romantic sense. But it was something that angered majority of Ghanaians who considered it a threat. Mr. Cameron had told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Britain will cut aid to countries that push for anti gay laws. He did not mention Ghana by name but everyone knew he was talking to us (Ghana), Malawi and Uganda. Both Uganda and Malawi abhor the practice.
Whilst Uganda has an existing law that makes it mandatory for gays to be jailed for a decade, Malawi is holding up two openly gay couple who got married and subsequently had to go into hiding, until they were flushed out. Britain reacted swiftly by calling its Ambassador back to London for a full brief. They cancel a €19 million support to them, a fund desperately needed to shore up an economy that continues to hang on weak financial legs.
More than 50 percent of that country’s economy is supported by Britain and the rest coming from tobacco production and other natural resources which are struggling, thanks to on-going global meltdown. However, the case of Ghana is different. The constitution is silent on same sex marriage. Perhaps we got ourselves into this position following persistent and open condemnation of gay persons by religious bodies, individuals and holier than thou persons who used all the invectives on those involved.
The Christian Council of Ghana especially demanded a public statement from politicians about gay rights. At a press conference more than two months ago, General Secretary of the council Reverend Fred Degbe (incidentally a lawyer) said any political party seen to be endorsing gay rights will not get their votes. Other members of the council also followed their comments with full page advertisements in the state owned newspaper, calling on their members to shun the company of ‘SINNERS AND PERSONS DESTINED FOR THE LAKE OF FIRE.”
A member of the Council of State and a minister of the gospel said accepting gays means Ghana will be inviting ‘God Damnation onto the nation.’ I wonder why God has not brought damnation onto countries like America, Britain, Germany and many other countries where gay people have the right to exercise their sexual freedoms. Ironically, these are the same countries our leaders continue to travel to to beg for money.
Are we not aware we are using gay monies to fuel our economy? Others also made very serious comments in support. As if that was not enough, the Western Regional Minister Paul Evans Aidoo directed the security agency to hound any person suspected to be gay. It was a reckless threat that meant any idiot could go ahead and attack somebody he or she suspects of being gay. It was unfortunate. Subsequent to his threat, David Cameron also made his country’s position known.
“YOU PERSECUTE THEM YOU DON’T GET MY MONEY.” As of 2010, Britain gave Ghana an amount of £80million to shore up the economy. It is meager but for a country like Ghana, it means a lot to us.; we can construct more public toilets and the rest will go into the private pockets of politicians. That has been the culture all these years. So far, the arguments or whatever so far expressed by religious bodies and individuals have been done out of emotions and pure religious bigotry.
Since Mr. Cameron’s threat to cut aid to seemingly anti-gay countries, I have taken the pain to scan through different radio channels and the outpouring of condemnations and threats directed at gays have been hot and harsh. Every single person who got the opportunity to speak on the radio proceed to issue threats to gay persons. One caller actually referred to them as ‘ANIMALS who should be doused with fire.” The presenter and his hosts laughed over the issue and added their own version to it. I was horrified.
The media that ought to be at the front exercising some level of responsibility virtually became a good platform to propagate vigilante messages against gays. An aunty of mine who is a lawyer and human rights advocate had suffered enormous abuse for speaking out against such barbaric posture and hypocrisy coming from the clergy. Like me and many others, we have been horrified by the level of hypocrisy the religious bodies continue to exhibit. They preach compassion and yet cannot exercise one towards people whose sexual preference is different from theirs.
What most of them are pretending to see is that right inside their churches, the gays and lesbians are there, they make financial contributions for the pastors to drive in those expensive cars and take those foreign trips. Their contributions ensure the pastors live comfortable lives, eat well whilst most of the flocks struggle in the sun for their daily meals. I’m not the one to pass judgment on the sexuality of people but if indeed gays and lesbians are destined to go to hell, then whoever has not sinned before must let the first stone slip off his fingers.