Ghana’s President John Atta Mills said his government would never legalise homosexuality, weighing in for the first time on an issue that has led to talk of possible aid cuts by the United Kingdom.
Homosexuality is illegal in 37 African countries, where rights groups say gays are often the targets of violent hate campaigns.
Mills said Ghana, seen as one of Africa’s most stable and successful democracies in recent years, was committed to upholding human rights as provided by the constitution, Reuters reports.
“(But) I as president of this nation, I will never initiate or support any attempts to legalise homosexuality in Ghana,” he said.
Britain has warned it will review aid to countries that persecute homosexuals. It has suspended £19 million in aid to Malawi because of concerns including its treatment of gays. Ghana and Uganda have also been linked to the threat.
Ghana, a former British colony, receives around £90 million a year from DFID, Britain’s development agency, according to the agency’s website.
“Britain made these statements that reflect (its) societal norms and ideals but (it) does not have the right to direct other sovereign nations as to what they should do, especially where their societal norms and ideals are different from those which exist in Prime Minister Cameron’s society,” Mills said.
In Ghana, the minister in charge of the oil-producing Western region called in July for the arrest of anyone found practising gay sex following local media reports of a supposed increase in homosexuality in the region.
Mills said Ghana recognised the assistance his country received from donors but he said it could not accept it coming with strings attached.