Ghana parliament recalled for urgent business after LGBT row

Friday May 17 2024

Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo. PHOTO | REUTERS


Ghana's parliament, which has been adjourned since March following a row between the speaker and the president over an anti-LGBT bill, will reconvene on Friday to discuss approval of ministerial appointees and other "urgent matters".

Majority leader Alexander Afenyo-Markin said in a statement that the urgent recall was "in good faith to enable government to discharge its constitutional and democratic obligations to the people."

Lawmakers in February unanimously passed one of Africa's most restrictive anti-LGBT bills, but President Nana Akufo-Addo has not yet signed it into law. His office said it would wait for the outcome of two legal challenges to the bill before it passes to the president for assent.

Read: Ghana parliament passes stringent anti-LGBTQ law

The delay sparked a backlash from supporters of the bill and has hobbled parliamentary procedures in Ghana, including the approval of ministerial nominations following a government reshuffle in February.

Speaker Alban Bagbin, who adjourned parliament in March, said the president's refusal to sign the bill was unconstitutional.


Around 21 nominees to ministerial and deputy ministerial posts, including two for the finance ministry, and other scheduled business, are awaiting approval.

Afenyo-Markin, a ruling party lawmaker for Effutu constituency in central Ghana, said Friday's emergency sitting will also consider a $150 million loan agreement between the government and the World Bank's International Development Association to improve Accra's economic resilience, and tax exemptions for businesses.

Read: Ghana bags aid package as Harris tours Africa

The speaker's office told Reuters it is Bagbin's "constitutional duty" to recall MPs, and that the sitting will be limited to the reasons given.

The president's decision to hold off on signing the bill came after a finance ministry warning that it could jeopardise $3.8 million in World Bank financing and derail a $3-billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan package.

The Supreme Court asked lawyers battling over the legality of the anti-LGBT bill to amend their motions due to insulting language in their submissions and then postponed the case without setting a new date.