A Minister in Ghana says she experimented homosexual experiences as a teenager exploring her sexuality in a country where homosexuality is a crime. She also thinks people should keep their sexuality private to avoid any problems.
A passing phase
Ursula Owusu-Ekufu, 56, is a lawyer, a women’s right activist, and also the Minister of Communications and Digitalization in Ghana since 2017.
In an interview with Nana Aba Anamoah, a famous media personality, she talked about her views about poligamy or LGBTQ+. She mentioned she had her own experience with girls, without giving any details. “I don’t make any apologies about it. We have all done it at some stage, we experimented stuff like that but it was a passing phase”, especially referring to the girls’ boarding schools. And she continues with “we are exploring our sexuality and we do all kinds of silly things growing up” after saying “I like my men“.
Ghana actually forbids same-sex relations and homosexuals can be sentenced between 5 and 25 years of prison based on a law from 1960. The law forbids any “unnatural carnal knowledge”, which is mostly understood as forbidding sodomy. Ghana is one of the 70 countries in the world that considers homosexuality as a crime – Africa including 32 of the 70 countries.
Although Ghana doesn’t really enforce this law and has not stiffened penalties, unlike some of its neighbors according to a Human Rights Watch report in 2018, homosexuals can be persecuted in Ghana.
The first LGBTQ+ center in Ghana opened less than a month
In February 2021, the police closed down the first center welcoming members of the LGBTQ+ community. In less than a month of existence, the center was under public pressure by religious and political forces that wanted it closed.
In 2017, Akua Donkor, a woman who aspires to become president proposed to put homosexuals in jail.
During her interview, minister Ursula Owusu-Ekufu also added that “if we keep our sexuality private, we won’t have any problems“. As she thanked god for not having social media during her youth, she considered that “kissing and touching each other in sexually suggestive ways publicly, everybody would find it offensive. Don’t expect me to like that.” She also showed uneased when she mentioned the case when men would hold their hands in the street.
In her second marriage, the Minister also said she would not accept seeing her husband get a second wife, in a country where polygamy was banned in 2015 but which is not a law either much enforced. “I don’t think it is right to have multiple wives” she added.
As for same-sex marriage, president Nana Akufo-Addo said he would never legalize it during his term.
Media sources and useful links:
- Nana Aba Anamoah Full Interview with Ursula Owusu Ekuful, April 2021, YouTube, Free access
- “No Choice but to Deny Who I Am” Violence and Discrimination against LGBT People in Ghana, HRW, 2018, Free access