Editorial: Speaker Bagbin’s undiplomatic gaffe

Yesterday, The Chronicle carried a story about the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, who went ballistic over the interference in the anti-LGBTQ+ Bill by the Vice President of the United States of America (USA), Kamala Harris. According to Speaker Bagbin, such interference was undemocratic and should not be tolerated. He said no principle of democracy suggests that one country should dictate to the other just because they give aid to the latter.

Reacting to Kamala Harris’ support of LGBTQ+ rights in Africa at a joint press conference with President Nana Akufo-Addo at Jubilee House, Speaker Bagbin had some choice words for the US Veep. He said these things should not be tolerated, because it was undemocratic.

He questioned why ‘someone’ should have to dictate to us what is good and what is bad, and demanded whether it was, because, as a nation, we have decided to devalue ourselves and go begging? He assured Ghanaians that God had created more than enough for every person, and that the Bill would be passed into law.

The Vice President of the US had asked the President of his opinion on the anti-gay legislation Bill being considered by Parliament. She espoused America’s legendary support to fighting for human rights issues and equality across the board, including those related to the LGBT community.

President Akufo-Addo answered that, by his understanding, substantial elements of the anti-gay legislation bill had already been modified as a result of the intervention of the Attorney General. The President added that he was convinced Parliament would consider the sensitivity of the bill to human rights issues, as well as the feelings of the Ghanaian population and come out with a responsible response.

It looks like the Speaker of Parliament threw some subtle responses at the President’s watered down stance on Ghana’s position on LGBTQ+ at the joint press conference with the Vice President of the US.

First of all, The Chronicle commends and appreciates the position our Speaker of Parliament has taken on LGBTQ+, he is strongly against it and the public is happy about it, but this is not the right time for him to make such comments.

However, The Chronicle holds the view that the Speaker went overboard in his utterances if it was directed at the President.  In our considered opinion, it was undiplomatic on the part of the Speaker to throw such punches at the President, especially when the Vice President of the USA, Kamala Harris, was still in the country. We believe he could have waited for her to leave the country first.

Additionally, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has already spoken out against same-sex marriage, saying it would never be legalised while he is President. The President might have been aware of his diplomatic status and decided to water down his hard stance on LGBTQ+ rights.

It is very important for the Speaker of Parliament to know that whatever we say today can be used against us tomorrow, so he has to know when to say what and where not to say what. That is because diplomats do not just make comments anyhow. As a leader, you have to put a lot of things into consideration to know when and how to do the right thing.

Let us try and avoid some of these undiplomatic faux pas.


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