Anti-gay mob wades into Ghana gay-rights dispute


Ghana is in an uproar over how many, if any, rights should be granted to its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual citizens.

News accounts tell of mob action by an anti-homosexual youth organization expressing outrage on hearing reports that couples had celebrated lesbian marriages in and around Accra, the capital.

The website Vibe Ghana reported:

For the second time in three months, two lesbian marriages have reportedly taken place at James Town in the heart of Accra, provoking youth in the area to declare war on all suspected gays and lesbians in the neighbourhood.

The second marriage ceremony was raided and every suspected lesbian stripped naked and chased out of town with sticks and whips.

The website added:

The gang assault on the suspected homosexuals, which happened on Sunday March 11, 2012, left the victims with no alternative but to leave the community and seek refuge with [the International Federation of Women Lawyers, or FIDA] and the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Police Service. …

A leader of the anti-LGBT group Ga-Mashie Youth for Change agreed with the general description of events, but denied that beatings took place:

“We invaded the place with the intention of stopping them but not to hurt anyone or beat them,” says Daniel Wettey, coordinator of the youth group. “We want to register our feelings against it (homosexuality),” he adds.

He admits they chased the homosexuals out with sticks and ordered the disc jockey (DJ) to stop the music; their main aim was to stop the activity and nothing else. “We didn’t beat anyone.”

Ghana’s Human Rights Advocacy Centre said nine gay men and one lesbian woman sought refuge  from the attacks:

They are escaping severe attacks from vigilante youths in James Town who claim to be redeeming them from their sexual orientation.

The victims claim they have no police protection in the community and fear for their lives. …

Their houses and families have been under constant attacks from the vigilante group who claim to be acting with the consent of the police.

Under current law in Ghana, homosexual activities are defined as “unnatural carnal knowledge,” a misdemeanor.

Ghana is under pressure from Western countries that promote gay rights, including the United Kingdom, where Prime Minister David Cameron said that international aid would be cut to countries that violate gay rights.

In response to that threat, Ghana president, John Evans Atta Mills, said last November, “I will never initiate or support any attempt to legalize homosexuality in Ghana.”

Nana Oye Lithur, executive director of the Human Rights Advocacy Centre in Ghana
Nana Oye Lithur, executive director of the Human Rights Advocacy Centre in Ghana. (Photo courtesy of Daily Guide)

Nana Oye Lithur, executive director of the Human Rights Advocacy Centre, said the disruptions was surprising because Ghana typically is a tolerant society.

“We believe that [gays and lesbians] are human beings and every single right that is granted through the constitution, they are equally entitled to,” she said. “For me, what they do behind closed doors is their own business.”

Many Christian churches in Ghana are campaigning against homosexuality, but do not condone violence against gays and lesbians.

Africa Review reported that the Rev. Fred Deegbe, general secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana “cautioned against directing violence at gays, though he promised that his organisation would campaign against any member of parliament who condoned homosexuality.”

Meanwhile, Peace FM Online reported, a retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Yaonansu Kpegah, has asked the Supreme Court to rule against homosexuality:

Justice Yaonansu Kpegah … has filed an application praying the Supreme Court to disregard homosexualism as a human rights issue.

He is further praying the highest court of the land to declare that under the country’s customary law, which is an integral part of the laws of Ghana, acts of homosexuality are an abomination and, “indeed, a taboo and are unacceptable as a natural and normal way of life in any decent society”.

He also asked the Supreme Court to order the Inspector-General of Police to investigate reports that a gay marriage was celebrated in the twin cities of Sekondi-Takoradi.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him at


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