I support Akufo-Addo’s stance on anti-LGBTQI+ bill: – Martin Kpebu 

Martin Kpebu

Mr Martin Kpebu, a Private Legal Practitioner, has backed President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s decision not to assent to the anti-LGBTQI+ bill until all pending court issues on the bill are addressed. 

President Akufo-Addo, in a letter to Parliament through his Secretary, Nana Asante Bediatuo, on March 18, 2024, asked the legislature to refrain from transmitting the anti-LGBTQI+ bill which it had passed to his office due to some suits challenging the constitutionality of the bill in the Supreme Court. 

The said letter drew criticism from a section of the public, particularly minority Members of Parliament and the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin. 

The Speaker, subsequently halted the approval of ministerial nominees, citing a court summon served on him on the matter. 

Speaking on TV3’s “The Key Point” programme on Saturday, monitored by the Ghana News Agency, Mr Kpebu said the President did no wrong in refusing to assent to the bill, adding that by the President’s action, he sought to uphold the rule of law. 

The private legal practitioner was quick to add that the Speaker of Parliament had the same intention of upholding the rule of law when he decided not to proceed with the approval of the ministerial nominees of the President. 

“Let’s not make it look like it’s just a tit for tat. There are various stages of analysis, on the face of it, you can think it’s a tit for tat, but when you go deeper you find that both the President and the Speaker of Parliament are talking law… In simple term, (if a case is in court) don’t do anything that will make the case a foolish case.  

“Those are laws of contempt. So, in this case, the President is right and he has my support 130 per cent when he says he is not signing the anti-gay bill because the case is pending in the Supreme Court,” Mr Kpebu said. 

He, however, rejected assertions that the current impasse between the two organs of government – the Executive and the Legislature, was unhealthy for the country’s democracy and development. 

He said the flexing of powers by the two organs was “good for the country’s democracy” because it ensured that the checks and balances of the various organs of government as stipulated by the Constitution, were upheld. 

He added that the incident was also an indication to the President that inasmuch as Article 58 of the Constitution vested powers in his hands, he could just not run over Parliament as he so desired. 

“I’m largely in favour of the current situation because it helps to test the boundaries of the Executive power and is shaping our democracy well,” he said. 

“This particular incident is good riddance, it’s helped us to show him (the President) a bit that look, it’s not as if, all the powers in Article 58, he can just walk rough short over Parliament of Ghana. So, this is really, really good,” Mr Kpebu added. 

Dr Justice Srem-Sai, a Constitutional Lawyer, on the same programme, explained that such suits had the tendency of halting key State institutions from performing their constitutionally mandated duties. 

To address that, he called on the Supreme Court to expeditiously deal with such cases when they came before it to allow the institutions to carry out their mandates to reduce the impact on the country.  

“I like this line of cases and I like what is going on because it will give the Supreme Court an opportunity to make a pronouncement on some of these issues because everyday, these things come up and we are not really sure whether someone has gone to court…,” Dr Srem-Sai said. 

He added that “…..I think that there must be a way of treating some of these cases with some level of urgency rather than letting that lie down just like any other case. There must definitely be a way because all cases don’t have the same effect.” 

Mr Rockson-Nelson Defeamekpor, Member of Parliament for South Dayi, revealed that he intended to file a suit against the Speaker and the President to compel the Speaker to transmit the bill to the President for him to assent to it. 

Source: GNA 

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