Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon

President John Mahama?s homosexual friend and globally acclaimed gay lobbyist, Andrew Solomon, has for the first time responded to the controversies surrounding his relationship with the President.

Andrew Solomon, in his article in the highly influential New York Times on Saturday February 9, 2013, dropped a bombshell, saying he had known the President for over eight years now.

In the article titled, ?In Bed with the President of Ghana??, the United States based homosexual explained details about his friendship with President Mahama, adding that the Ghanaian leader called to beg him after Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Information and Media Relations, tried to draw a wedge between him and the president.

This revelation was contrary to attempts by government officials to make President Mahama?s friendship with the international gay lobbyist appear casual.

?When my husband-to-be (John Habich) and I met the Ghanaian politician John Dramani Mahama at a friend?s wedding near Accra eight years ago, I liked him immediately,? explained Andrew Solomon in his Op-ed write-up in the New York Times on Saturday.

According to Mr. Solomon, when President Mahama?s equally controversial book, ?My First Coup d?Etat? was published in the United States, he did some publicity for his friend?s book.

Apparently, Andrew Solomon was so impressed with the unconventional content of the book published by an African politician.

?Many people in the developed world expect African heads of state to be either terse and political or bloated and ideological. The surprise of John Mahama?s book is its tender humanism, and I thought it would go a long way toward breaking down prejudice in the United States,? he recounted, saying he showered the book with the goodwill it deserved.

?I hosted a party to celebrate its publication. I conducted an onstage interview with John Mahama at the New York Public Library and I am thanked in the book?s acknowledgments,? he said.

Andrew Solomon denied all speculations about his involvement in sponsoring ?My First Coup d?Etat? and an alleged secret plan to push a gay agenda in Ghana, including a subtle sponsoring of the controversial human rights advocate and Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur.

?I was presumed to have pushed through her nomination, even though I had in fact never heard of her. The argument that Ms. Lithur was selected not for her formidable skills, but because of a foreign devil fit with the continuing position among some Africans that homosexuality is an import from the decadent West,? he said, debunking the speculations.

?I have neither the ability nor the inclination to meddle in foreign elections, and I paid not one red cent for the book John Mahama inscribed to me.

The only way I may have influenced him on gay rights was by welcoming him into the household of a joyful family with two dads.

It is deeply unsettling to be implicated in a national scandal, to know that my attempts to be kind and helpful to someone would become his millstone.?

Mahama Begs

When the story broke late January, Minister of Information and Media Relation, Mahama Ayariga, issued an official statement denying that President Mahama ever knew Andrew Solomon.

Indeed, the Minister implied that Andrew Solomon was shoved down the President?s throat by organizers of the book launch in New York in July.

?The organizers settled on Andrew Solomon purely, purely on the basis of his acumen in writing, journalism and authorship. And for that reason the organizers thought that somebody like that would be the appropriate person to moderate that particular book launch in New York.

He wasn?t chosen by the president, the president didn?t know him before the launch, so the president really did not have a relationship with him,? Mr. Ayariga emphasized in the statement issued to rebut the speculations.

When asked why the President did not do proper background check on Mr. Solomon, the Information Minister answered, ?Presidents are too busy to be concerned about such details. If you are going to launch a book, and they say there is going to be a moderator, and then you ask what is his sexual orientation? it is not what you expect of a President.?

Apparently, President Mahama felt uncomfortable with the potential backlash of the open denial of his friend and he quickly called Andrew Solomon to apologize for the blatant denial by his Minister of Information.

?On Friday, Feb. 1, the president?s spokesman said that President Mahama didn?t know me. On Saturday, the president called me to apologize. On Sunday, the government issued a statement that Mr. Mahama and I know each other, that I have never made a campaign contribution or persuaded anyone else to do so,? Andrew Solomon revealed in his New York Times article.

Subtle Agenda

Critics are at sea as to why Mr. Solomon would choose the platform of the New York Times to settle a score brewed in Ghana.

Apparently, the renowned gay activist was using the platform to focus the world?s attention on the gay debate raging in Ghana.

Mr. Solomon decried the nimble footedness of the Ghanaian government in boldly tackling the situation.

President Mahama indeed gave mixed responses to the gay challenge at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Presidential encounter.

He felt the issue needed more wholistic discourse, but realizing the recent backlash, he shifted his position to a more hardline stance where he considered homosexuality a criminal offence.

Andrew Solomon considered the constant pole-shifting ?double talk from the Ghanaian administration.?

According to Mr. Solomon, since the intense discourse on whether gays deserved human rights recognition or not, he had received several emotionally touching mails from gays in Ghana who felt their lives were in danger. Some were even contemplating suicide for a sexual orientation they seemed not to be able to control.

?The situation of gay people in most of Africa is deplorable, and the double talk from the Ghanaian administration has done little to assuage valid concerns. In the wake of this brouhaha, I have received hundreds of letters from Ghanaians via my Web site and Facebook.

Half are from gay people about how dire their situation is. One said, ?I am tired of this humiliation and embarrassment. I don?t know whether I am a gay, I am not a living being. I have tried to pretend to be what they wanted.

I need your word of advice and help. Sorry to say I feel like committing suicide. My tears are dropping so badly that I have to end my e-mail here?,? he wrote.

Andrew Solomon was optimistic that an intellectual homosexual debate would soon be sparked in Ghana.

?The fact that local propagandists can plausibly suggest that the president of a West African country is in the hands of gay lobbyists reflects a changing world. I hope that President Mahama will seize this occasion to take a leadership role in the region on L.G.B.T. rights.

The fact that so many people from his country wrote to me when the scandal broke indicates that many are thinking through these issues. I hope the time is not far off when to know someone like me will be less of a liability and more of an asset,? he stated.

By Raphael Ofori-ADENIRAN

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