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Larry Madowo’s high-octane viral interview with Ghanaian MP

By Winfrey Owino | October 11th 2021

High-octane interview: CNN's Larry Madowo and Ghanaian MP Samuel George. [Courtesy]

Kenyan CNN journalist Larry Madowo has been in the internet spotlight courtesy of a no-holds-barred interview with a Ghanaian MP who is pushing for an anti-LGBT+ bill.

In a session on CNN’s evening talk show, The Exchange, Madowo faced off with Sam George, the MP who sponsored the proposed bill that criminalises homosexual activities in the West African nation.

The twenty-minute interview attracted mixed reactions after Madowo took to his official Twitter handle to air his opinion on the interview.

“This is one of the most contentious interviews I've ever done on live TV. I asked a Ghanaian MP pushing an anti-LGBT bill why he wants to legalize hate & homophobia,” he tweeted.

The interview takes a different turn when Larry asks the legislator if he wants to "make it hard for Ghanaians to live openly and freely on the person they choose to love."

George responds "You have not read my bill," a response that most people used to jump to the conclusion that the journalist was ill-prepared and had not read the Bill prior to the interview.

At one point it gets personal when Madowo cuts in and dwells on everything but the content of the Bill prompting the MP to read the Bill word for word.

Below, excerpts of the interview...

Larry: We are talking about conversion therapy which is considered torture, and your Bill would legalise that. Do you want to torture people in the name of curing Homosexuality?

George:  I was making the point that individuals who decide to become transgender, apart from surgery also engage in hormonal treatment. Is that torture? Because I don’t see the difference between hormonal therapy and what you call hormonal treatment.

Larry:  They are very different. This is a very false equivalence you are making, Sir.

George: What is the difference? Make me understand.

Larry:  I am not a medical expert. But the UN experts who have looked into this consider it torture...

But what is the Ghanaian anti-LGBT+ Bill about?

When introducing the guest on his show, Madowo describes the Bill, which is set to be debated this month, as one that ‘promotes hate and homophobia’ and introduces the harshest anti-LGBT regulations.

However, George says it is a way to "promote Ghanaian family values."

In an article by Reuters on Thursday, August 12, U.N. human rights experts warned that the bill (if passed into law) could give rise to “a system of state-sponsored discrimination and violence” against sexual minorities.

The experts then urged authorities to reject the proposed law.

The Promotion of Proper Human Sexual Rights and Ghanaian Family Values Bill, 2021, was introduced in parliament on August 2, 2021, and is expected to go before lawmakers for debate in October.

In a letter to Ghana’s mission to the U.N. in Geneva, the experts said the bill violated Ghana’s international human rights agreements.

“We express our grave concern about the draft bill, which seems to establish a system of state-sponsored discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons of great magnitude,” the letter dated August 9 read in part.

“Given that LGBTI people are present in every family and every community, it is not very difficult to imagine how, if it were to be adopted, this legislation could create a recipe for conflict and violence.”

Even before the passing of the Bill, gay sexual relationships in Ghana are already punishable with up to three years in jail and at the same time homophobic persecution is widespread, Reuters reports.

In addition, the bill would also impose a penalty of up to five years imprisonment for being LGBT+ and of 10 years for advocating for their rights.

Not only individuals, but media outlets found publishing information deemed to support same-sex intimate relationships or challenging traditional binary male and female gender identities, could also be prosecuted.

The draft law promotes so-called conversion therapy by allowing flexible sentencing for an LGBT+ person if they request “treatment” to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, which the U.N. experts said, “may amount to torture”.

Despite this, pundits say there is enough support in the largely conservative Christian West African nation for the bill to become law.

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