West won’t accept polygamy so shouldn’t force LGBTQ+ acceptance on us, says Ghana’s vice-president

Ghana's Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia

Ghana’s vice-president, Mahamudu Bawumia, has said that given the West doesn’t accept polygamy, his country can ignore LGBTQ+ identities.

Bawumia, the New Patriotic Party’s presidential candidate, has said he will not tolerate LGBTQ+ activities if elected, because they conflict with the Ghana’s values. 

Ghana’s presidential elections on 7 December will bring in a new leader, with Nana Akufo-Addo stepping down at the end of his two terms. 

On Monday (3 June), while speaking to clergy in Cape Coast during his tour of the Central Region, Bawumia said of LGBTQ+ identities: “We will not agree. The Bible doesn’t tolerate it, the Quran doesn’t tolerate it and our African values do not tolerate it. So it is a no, no and no.”

‘We will never allow it’

He went on to argue that while the West does not permit polygamy, same-sex marriages would not be legalised under his potential government. 

“They also don’t agree with certain things,” he said, according to Starr 103.5 FM. “They don’t agree with polygamy. Are we forcing it on them? So they shouldn’t force it [LGBTQ+ acceptance] on us. We all agree.”

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Polygamy refers to marriage to more than one person at the same time. In Ghana, Islamic marriages are mostly polygamous, with the man being permitted by law to have up to four wives, while “women are not at liberty to have more than one husband at a time”.

Bawumia’s comments follow the United Nations and human rights groups condemning the passage of a “profoundly disturbing” bill that criminalises LGBTQ+ people in the West African nation.

The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021 was passed unanimously by parliament in February.

The bill, still to be signed into law by the president, criminalises people who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community and attacks allies who support queer rights. Anyone convicted could be punished with imprisonment ranging from a few months to three years. 

Sexual acts between men have been illegal as “unnatural carnal knowledge” in Ghana since colonial times, when it was known as the Gold Coast.

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