The government of Ghana issued a ban yesterday on a gay and lesbian conference that was due to be held in the capital Accra later this month.

Kwame Bartels, Minister of Information and National Orientation, told the Ghana News Agency “the government would like to make it absolutely clear that it shall not permit the proposed conference of International Gays and Lesbians to take place anywhere in Ghana.”

In Ghana homosexuality is illegal, and openly condemned by political and religious leaders.

The government spokesman also compared it to bestiality.

Mr Bartels said in a statement “the government does not and shall not condone any such activity which violently offends the culture, morality and heritage of the entire people of Ghana.”

The government is also seeking the people responsible for giving the meeting permission to take place.

“The Minister (of the Interior) is further directed to institute disciplinary action if they are found to have acted in contravention of our laws.”

The Ghanaian public and clergy had spoken out against the conference claiming it was an offence to the culture of the country.

One cleric claimed in a recent radio debate that “it is unfortunate all over the world homosexuals are coming out of their closets,” according to the Ghanaian Chronicle.

The debate was concerned with homosexual rights in Ghana, with a large degree of support from listeners for the country to remain homophobic.

There is deep seated belief in Ghana that gays and lesbians are abominations, who are despised by God and must be punished.