Bright Simons, Policy Analyst and Advocate at IMANI Ghana
Policy analyst at IMANI, Bright Simons, says Information Minister, Mahama Ayariga's indecent haste to disown American gay rights activist Andrew Solomon betrayed the hypocrisy of Ghana's leaders on the gay question.
He said Mr Ayariga goofed badly at his hastily organised press conference because he was eager to distance the president from Mr Solomon.
The minister made a u-turn barely 48-hours after he told journalists that President John Mahama had no relationship with the American who chaired the launch of his book, My First Coup d'état, in the United States, prior to the event.
"I briefed the media during the week on the matter of the relationship between Andrew Solomon, an acclaimed author in the United States of America, and His Excellency President John Dramani Mahama. I denied any prior close relationship between the two of them. Subsequently it has come to my knowledge that this is not entirely accurate," he said.
Mr Ayariga added that, “in keeping with my commitment to provide accurate and reliable information about Government and the Presidency to the public, let me affirm that our then-Vice President had a prior meeting with Andrew Solomon in furtherance of the former’s book writing project before the book launch event at which Andrew Solomon acted as a moderator.”
Speaking on the Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Monday, Bright Simons explained that, “the reason why he (the minister) was keen and eager to disown the man was because he wanted to bolster the president’s credentials as somebody who so completely abhor gays that he would have had nothing to do with the man.”
Bright Simons noted that the President’s decision to accept a person like Andrew Solomon, regardless of his sexual preference, to support his book launch exposed the “hypocrisy with which our leaders are handling the gay matter.”
He said there was some level of extremity in Mahama Ayariga’s statements that states that the President abhors gay rights and believes in its continued criminalization.
He said subsequent revelations that the president visited the activist’s home in Manhattan for a dinner indicates that the president would have had the security agencies and the mission in America check his background.
If the president “found the matter inconsequential,” then he should not turn around and give the impression that the behavior of people of Andrew Solomon’s kind is so abhorrent."
Bright Simons urged leaders to be cautious in the “militancy” with which they seek to denounce the gay issue when they themselves are not clear sometimes about their own reactions.
Some guests on the show
Edgar Wiredu, an Insurance Consultant also speaking on the matter faulted Mahama Ayariga for failing to do proper consultation before coming out with his statement.
“What is the problem with Andrew Solomon, is it because he is a gay that is why it’s making news or what? You ask, is it a big deal?” he asked.
Edgar Wiredu asked whether Ghanaians know the sexual orientation of the people they meet and deal with on a daily basis.
According to him, the homosexuality issue has taken a certain dimension because of Nana Oye Lithur’s appointment stressing “we seem to be dragging the issue beyond certain boundaries which I think is totally unnecessary.”
Nana Kwaw Ansah, a co-host of the Super Morning Show observed that Ghana lacked the spine to actually make homosexuality illegal and “if we are going to continue the culture of taking our begging bowls to these advanced countries for money, you can’t outlaw homosexuality.”