A Ghanaian man whose partner was lynched by a crowd of anti-gay youths has been forced to go on the run and remain in hiding as the mob is now searching for him.
Kwaku Adepa Riche Dallas, 28, is in fear for his life, after a group of around 30 people stormed into the home of the man believed to be his partner, Osei John, 34, stripped him naked, and lynched him because of their belief he was gay. They then turned up at Kwaku Adepa’s home, but he had been tipped off, and was able to flee before his would-be killers could arrive.
GhanaWeb describe the couple as “suspected homosexuals,” who started “flaunting their romantic relationship in the Muslim-dominated area in Kumasi in October 2014.”
Osei John’s family is calling for justice, as police say it is difficult to pin down who is responsible for his death. Kwaku Adepa’s relatives, meanwhile, are imploring the Inspector General of Police (IGP), David Asante-Apeatu, to provide security as they prepare for the funeral for their late Grandmother, Obaapanim Adwoa Adepa Akoto.
The family is reportedly still under attack from “irate youth” over their relative’s suspected homosexuality, and in an attempt to ascertain his whereabouts so they can eliminate what they believe to be the “curse of homosexuality.”
Violence against the LGBTQ community in Ghana has been a problem for years.
Consensual sex among same-sex adult men is still illegal in the country, punishable by years in prison.
The U.S. Department of State’s 2012 Human Rights Report found that, “LGBT persons faced widespread discrimination, as well as police harassment and extortion attempts.” It further added that gay men were often subject to physical and sexual abuse, as well as to attacks on the streets and in their homes, with little to no police investigations after the fact.
U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson, said on a recent appearance on GhanaWeb’s 21 Minutes with KKB program that he hoped “within the next decade or so, that every Ghanaian, regardless of sexual orientation, will enjoy the same rights and be treated the same way.”
He also stressed that the acceptance of issues like marriage equality “was a long process in my country.
“I think there are far more gays in Ghana than Ghanaians realize,” Jackson added. “But because of societal attitudes, they keep their sexuality very private.”
Ghana’s new president, Nana Akufo-Addo, told Al Jazeera in December that he believed legalizing homosexual conduct was “just a matter of time.”
“I think it is something that is bound to happen,” he said.
“Like elsewhere in the world, the activity of individuals and groups [can make it happen].”
He said it would take the action of groups who feel strongly on the issue, because at present it does not appear to be something the country as a whole is looking to change.
“At the moment, I don’t feel, I don’t see that in Ghana there is that strong current of opinion that is saying this is something that we need [to] even deal with,” he said. “It is so far not a message that is on the agenda.”
Some LGBTQ rights advocates are making a push, calling for Parliament to take action against the discriminatory laws that target them, either by passing legislation or putting it up for a public referendum.
Activist Philcollins Agbedanu Kröger praised Jackson for his comments, and agreed, calling the LGBTQ community in Ghana “big,” but that many remain closeted out of fear, and “religion and culture that people oppress them with.”