Private Legal Practitioner, Martin Kpebu has asserted that the new anti-LGBT bill, if passed into law, in its current state, will have wide implications on free speech among others.

“This bill as it is, is quite far-reaching, very far-reaching and that is even, to put it mildly. Do you see promotion, saying that if any media promotes LGBTQ rights that is an offence? How would you zoom into specific promotion as against free speech? Where we are heading is very slippery,” he stated.

The proposed anti-LGBT bill states that “a person who, by use of media, technological platform, technological account or any other means, produces, procures, markets, broadcasts, disseminates, publishes or distributes a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill, or a person who uses an electronic device, the Internet service, a film, or any other device capable of electronic storage or transmission to produce, procure, market, broadcast, disseminate, publishes or distribute a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction, to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than ten years.”

But speaking on Joy FM‘s Top Story on Friday, Mr Kpebu stated that aside from being far-reaching, the bill seeks to add more financial burden on the government; an obligation the state is currently finding difficult to execute.

“The issues are many. I’m not saying that if you remove free speech, that is it. There is another one about paying for victims. The honourable members are happy that they are going to pay victims.

“For domestic violence, we went to court about 3 years ago that the government should put funds into the Domestic Violence funds so that women who get battered, children who suffer domestic abuse will be taken care of, that has not been done and we rushing to create another fund. Come on, we have to get serious. Let us deal with domestic violence first. First things first. You haven’t finished dealing with it and you are running for another fund,” he bemoaned.

According to the 36-page anti-LGBT bill, “clauses 19 to 23 deal with the protection and support for victims, accused and other persons. These provisions are included as a recognition of the distinction between lifestyle activists and persons who engage in the acts prohibited by the Bill as a result of social, cultural, financial, medical, psychological or biological reasons. This is in recognition that as minorities, these persons need the support, protection and love of the majority, to help them overcome their vulnerabilities and to give them options so that may be helped.”

For the legal practitioner, the provision in the said bill that encourages Ghanaians not to attack persons alleged to be part of the LGBT fraternity is just a token.

This, according to him, is because the laws of Ghana prohibit mob justice regardless of the offence committed.

Also, Mr Kpebu held the view that matters of public concern such as corruption have been abandoned to fight the LGBT campaign.

“There is whistleblowers fund, we are not funding that so that people can help give information to stem the tide of corruption and other things in the country. But you have left all that and you are chasing LGBT fund, come on,” he stated.

Despite the number of concerns the legal practitioner raised, he, however, called on members of the public to remain calm as bills pass through various stages in Parliament before they are passed into law.

“The good thing is that they specifically stated that they will do more consultation so let us get to that stage. As for bills, they always come up and later on, through consultation and reflection you will see that maybe it may not be necessary after all. These are early days, let it go through. We will read through and with time we will see where it goes,” he said.

Social media has since Friday morning been reacting to a private member bill against the involvement, promotion, propagation, advocacy, support or funding for LGBTQI+ related activities.

The eight legislators spearheading the fight against same-sex relationships in the country are; MP for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George, Ho West MP, Emmanuel Bedzrah, MP for Kpando, Della Adjoa Sowah, and John Ntim Fordjour, the MP for Assin South.

The rest are MP for Tamale North, Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini, La Dadekotopon MP, Rita Naa Odoley Sowah, the MP for Krachi West, Helen Adjoa Ntoso, and Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, the MP for South Dayi.

Portions of the Bill state that individuals of the same sex who engage in sexual intercourse are; “liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than seven hundred and fifty penalty units and not more than five thousand penalty units, or to a term of imprisonment of not less than three years and not more than five years or both.”