He has been widely publicized by the media to liberally socialize with wealthy gay friends in public forums, nearly every time that Mr. John Dramani Mahama has conducted an official or unofficial tour of the United States. Oftentimes, the objective has been financial solicitation. But even more significantly, even as Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, the current Education Minister, revealed to a conference of members of UTAG, the University Teachers’ Association of Ghana, on the main campus of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, recently, in 2015, that is, just about four years ago, the Mahama-led regime of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) published a Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) book for the use of our Basic School Pupils (See “Napo Fights Mahama’s Sex Education Claim” Modernghana.com 10/5/19).
What is not clear to yours truly regards what the outcome of the Mahama-implemented Comprehensive Sexuality Education was or became at the time, and thus why the present Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) found the need to reintroduce the same sort of program into our Basic School Curriculum. And answer to the preceding question could give us the critically needed clue as to why the same topic has become the subject of a fiery national debate presently. At any rate, the most relevant question worth asking here is this: Why has the Akufo-Addo Administration decided to bring up this matter once more in the frenzied leadup to the 2020 general election? Very likely, the reason verges on the fact that CSE is routinely taught in the most technologically advanced and civilized of modern democracies.
Even more significantly, the teaching of CSE as part of the Basic School Curriculum stands to enrich our largely self-willed sex-education-denied youths who have increasingly become prime targets of adult sexual predators of all kinds in the country, among them, big-time politicians and religious leaders as well as cutthroat kidnappers, as has recently become the norm in southwestern Ghana and other parts of the country. What is clear, and curiously so, is that it well appears that it is not the mere teaching of CSE that is the problem here; rather, it is the prefixing of the adjective of “Comprehensive” to the sexuality education curricular agenda that has raised so many hackles or eyebrows among our politicians and religious community leaders. For many of the critics, “Comprehensive” means the teaching of LGBTQI – that is, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersexual – sexuality that is the crux of the problem.
It is eerily akin to that old maid’s tale or myth that I learned as a first or second grader. Back then, in the mid-sixties and early seventies, we were told that if one was not careful and a frog/toad hopped onto one’s foot or toes while one was on the way to the riverside to fetch water – or for whatever errand – one could easily be turned into a member of the opposite sex. For example, if you were a boy, the legend went, you could be turned into a girl. In essence, the theory on the part of those who are virulently opposed to the introduction or reintroduction of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education program into the Basic School Curriculum appears to be that any attempt to expose our children and grandchildren to LGBTQI sexuality and/or culture would be tantamount to turning these pupils into LGBTQI-oriented people. Now, this sounds rather naïve and absurd.
But it is equally true that this kind of facile or morbidly uncritical thinking is as Ghanaian as fufu, banku (corn dumpling) or cooked plantains and spinach or cocoyam-leaf stew. It could, of course, be as Ghanaian as gari and beans, tuo-zaafi or akple. It is this kind of blistering and morally, culturally and intellectually regressive conservatism that made it literally take ages before the leaders of our flagship academies or universities and colleges introduced graduate programs into these otherwise pedagogically progressive institutions. When it comes to innovative and creative thinking, Ghanaians may be among the most regressive and retarded of peoples and nations around the world. This may very well have a lot to do with the perennially deleterious impact of slavery. The truth ought to be told – Ghanaians have yet to fully recover from the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder triggered by our slavo-colonial experiences over the course of some 400 years.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD English Department, SUNY-Nassau Garden City, New York October 6, 2019 E-mail: [email protected]
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