Ghana has had four republican constitutions since it attained independence on 6th March 1957. Ghana’s first republican constitution arguably provided for fundamental human rights and freedoms. The 1992 Constitution also guarantees equality before the law. However, Article 17(4) of the 1992 Constitution allows the Parliament of Ghana to make certain laws which might be advantageous to a certain class of people as far as it conforms to the provisions of the Constitution. A group of Parliamentarians in 2021 introduced a Bill in the Parliament of Ghana to criminalize LGBTQI+ groups and related activities since the Criminal Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) does not expressly refer to them. The Bill has fuelled debates on the discrimination or otherwise of LGBTQI+ persons in Ghana and the criminalisation of their activities. Using a comparative and doctrinal legal research approach, this paper analyses Article 17 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana in the context of Ghana’s constitutional evolution since 1960. The paper reveals that a comparison of the legal provisions on equality and discrimination in the various constitutions of Ghana since 1960 shows that the relevant provisions on the right to equality before the law and freedom from discrimination have undergone significant changes. The paper also shows that, unlike the 1969 and 1979 Constitutions, the 1992 Constitution does not list ‘sex’ or ‘sexual orientation’ or both as prohibited grounds for discrimination.
Keywords and Phrases: Ghana, Constitutional Evolution, Equality and Freedom from Discrimination, 1992 Constitution.
The 1960 Constitution of Ghana.
The 1969 Constitution of Ghana.
The 1979 Constitution of Ghana.
The 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
Interpretation Act 1960 (CA 4), as repealed by Interpretation Act 2009 (Act 792).
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The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill 2021.
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Richard Obeng Mensah is an assistant lecturer at the Private Law Department, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi – Ghana; where he teaches Intellectual Property Law, Comparative Law, and Legal Writing & Study Skills. His research interests include energy security, climate change, human rights, intellectual property rights, comparative law, and corruption and good governance. He has published in these areas among others. His ongoing doctoral research, at the Faculty of Law, KNUST, focuses on clean energy generation in Ghana. Richard holds a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from KNUST, Qualifying Certificate in Law (QCL/BL) from the Ghana School of Law, and a Master of Laws (LLM) degree in Energy Law from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom. He is a private legal practitioner and a member of the Ghana Bar Association and Advocates Africa/International.
Mensah R.O., “Ghana’s Constitutional Evolution Since 1960: A Comparative Analysis of the Country’s Equality and Anti-Discrimination Legal Provisions,” E-Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences 3, no.7 (2022):256-268. https://doi.org/10.38159/ehass.2022371