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« Language as a Tool for Exclusion: Reflections on Cameroon's National Bilingualism Day | Main | The Cameroons Unification Revisited (3): The John Ngu Foncha Declaration (Yaounde, December 1994) »

February 08, 2006

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owukori

First let me say thank you for introducing me to your blog. I am not sure if you are Cameroonian but if you are this is the first Cameroon blog I have found.

To the homosexuality issue. Again thank you for putting the "outings" in a strictly Cameroonian context which is no less worrying but does provide a better understanding.

Nonetheless homosexuality is criminalised in Cameroon like elsewhere in Africa and there is a need for African human rights defenders to lead a campaign to reverse the laws.

I would ask if the tables were turned and women instead of men were being forced to have sex for advancement would there be "outings" of this kind? would there be a huge uproad and hysteria amongst the people?

I do think we need to be careful here as from your article I would say that yes there is definately a political element here but there is also a strong element of homophobia ie a strong moral aspect as well.

To move to another topic, I would be interested to hear your comments on the Ambazonia Movement

drdann

On this note, it would be interesting to hear from the womenfolk whether Cameroon is already a heterosexocracy in some respects. What is the power of women, mostly in the lower rungs of social heirarchy to say no to bosses, instructors and other authority figures? This is the context of sexual harrassment legislation in the West.

owukori

People are being outed here not because they are abusing power but because of the homosexual element connected to that abuse of power. This changes the dynamics of the outings into a homophobic witch hunt and violation of the individuals human rights.

George Akum

Owukori,

I strongly disagree with you on this one. Individuals are violating the rights of helpless and desperate persons. This is abuse of power in its most basic terms and has to be condemned. Imagine your father coming home in tears because he had been forced to engage in homosexual acts by some Government official who knows he is untouchable because he is part of some inner circle!!

I attended the university of Yaounde back in the 1990s where the term "sexually transmitted degrees" was coined. Back then lecturers who where forcing female students to have sex with them in exchange for grades were "outed" in the same manner, and this was when the term "homosexual" was still just a word in the dictionary to most Cameroonians.

I agree with Mr. Dibussi that the problem today is that a list was put together to settle scores. That is wrong.

I also insist as he does that the issue of what Cameroonian cartoonist Nyemb Popoli "anustocracy" has to be dealt with. It is not homophobia but the protection of basic human dignity being violated by the cream of Cameroon's political elite. Come to think of it, this is probably the only country in the world which is controled by homosexuals acting as a group - Not even in America have we seen such a thing!!!

That said, I would go a step further that Mr. Dibussi by pointing out that the issue of homosexuality in Cameroon upsets many Cameroonians primarily because of it "cultist" and occult nature. This is not about pleasure or natural disposition but about being made to believe that there is no other way.

It is exactly the same as the rape of babies and children by South African Males on the assumption that this would cure AIDS. Here the assumption is that homosexuality will lead to political power Yesterday it was the harvested hearts or genitals of children...).

Yes, forces of darkness who insist that success passes through homosexuality have apparently taken over the country. I can confidently say that over 90% of people who have engaged in homosexual acts in Cameroon are not homosexuals and have absolutely no interest in that lifestyle. They have done so because they felt, rightly or wrongly, they had no other choice. That is demented and sick and must be addressed. If this is what is called homophobia so be it.

In this debate we must clearly distinguish between the "list" which is the mother of all smear campaigns, and the instrumentalization of homosexuality as a method of career advancement. In this regard, I accuse those involved in this vile project(who ironically don't even feature on these lists) of the following:

1. using blackmail to force future administrator and leaders of the country to engage in homosexuality in exchange for brilliant careers
2. forcing business people to participate in homosexual acts before participating in the development of the country
3. confining political power in the hands of folks with no moral compass
4. comodifying and debasing sex
5 practicing nepotism and favoritism

Final Word

"Boy George"

Ma Mary

Owukori- this is not a particularly good platform episode with which to campaign for homosexual rights. This circle outed by the newspapers is said to extend to the very top, to the president himself. I believe the tabloids were too scared to mention his name.

There is the witch hunt element undeniably in a homophobic society, but the corruption is what has driven the story. Government by sex of any kind is a disaster, and I only wish that the witch hunt should continue to out those who are sleeping with students for marks and on their office carpets with women for career advancement and other reasons.

What complicates this further is the fact that these (mostly) men are married with children and wives. I would like to believe that the gay community does not tolerate infidelity?

There needs to be a public discourse, but it needs to be steered away from homosexuality to abuse of sex for power and money purposes.

owukori

You have not anwered the question I asked which was if the tables were turned and it was women rather than men would there be this level of hysteria and condemnation? I doubt it. Women have been commodified and sexually debased for centuries and this continues today. No one is in uproar about that? No one is in an uproar about the sexual and physical abuse of young children used as slaves and God knows what in Cameroons, Nigeria and other parts of Africa. No one is in an uproar over the growning number of rapes of women - in fact you can harlly get a prosecution for rape in Nigeria and elsewhere. No one is in an uproar over female genitle mutilation of young girls. But everyone is falling over in hysteria about homosexuality and power in Cameroon. How many men in power have demanded sexual favours of the wives of other men who want to progress? Have they been outed and condemned?

Abuse of power in any form cannot be justified. I ask you how many innocents get caught in this witch hunt? How opportunistic is this to slay your enemy?

Expose all the corrupt ministers and public officals, expose and out all those involved in the trafficking of children and women. Let the exposure cover everyone, rrespective of their sexuality.

I am not using this as a platform for defending human rights. I am presenting another point of view which is essentially that the coversation needs to be steered away from homosexuality to abuse of power and corruption in high places.

George

OK. how about this; How many people have ever been sent to jail for practicing homosexuality in Cameroon? Not one. Gay bars and other similar meeting places flourish in the open in Douala and Yaounde without anyone raising a finger. And don't tell me that 17 gays were rounded up last year in one of these bars because of their sexual preference. No, that bar was raided because minors were being lured there to be preyed upon. Even in that case, nobody was taken to court. So there is no persecution of gays in Cameroon even if society rightly or wrongly consider homosexuality wrong.

The uproar about the list, if I may add another angle, is what I can term "the revenge of the little people". The masses are enjoying it because for once, the power elite is in hot water; whether these allegations are true or not is not relevant to them - for once their oppressors, those who have put road blocks on cameroonian democracy, those who have pillaged the economy and created a kleptocracy have been ridiculed. And the masses are having a field day - akin to blacks celebrating the acquital of OJ Simpson just because it was seen as a blow at the white establishment.

Would the same uproar exist if women were being preyed upon? yes, if it was being done in a concerted and institutional manner by mystical sects.

Yes, we can discuss the law criminalizing homosexuality in Cameroon but let us not try obfuscate the issue of homosexual politics in Cameroon

Dibussi

Hi Owukori,

Thanks for keeping this site alive with your comments. Yes I am Cameroonian and this is not the only Cameroonian blog out there, although there are not many of them. Blogging is yet to become part of our cyberculture. Here is a list of the Cameroonian blogs that I know of:
http://www.gngwane.com
http://www.nyamnjoh.com
http://www.batebesong.com
http://www.simonmol.com
http://www.martinjumbam.com
http://www.vmbarika.com
http://www.tunduzi.com
http://www.gobata.com
http://www.ilongosphere.com

A brief description of each of these websites is available at www.jimbimedia.com

Keep the debate alive, one word at a time

Ma Mary

I concede something. The issue of comodified homosexual sex being used as a blunt instrument against the kleptocracy has been relatively easy, given the titillating nature of the subject matter. Given the taboo nature of this kind of sexuality, it offers a shield which nothing else that has been tried against these oppressors offers.

Have you considered another dimension, that a homosexual elite with nigh absolute wealth and power supports and codifies antihomosexual laws? What do you think is going on? There are so many dimensions to this that it needs a lot of thought. What outcome would you prefer as a gay activist - evolution of attitudes or the horror of a homosexual elite forcing their culture on an unprepared and already traumatized and oppressed mass of people with new laws?

What is your impression of Babangida's rule? Many Nigerian cogniscenti claimed at the time that he was a down low kind of guy as well.

Watesih

Its really a pity that the gay activist Peter Tatchell would prefer to use coercion to fight for rights he knows are not contemporary.The fact that governments in the West have allowed homosexuals to brave shame and come to the fore,must not be brought to bare on what ensues in Africa.Societal values in most African societies are unadulterated .Many scourges have been brought to the Africans and the effects are devastating,so it is not a moral right for that which is considered as pervasion to be forced on the Africans again.Most Africans know and see the societies in the West as entities that have lost their souls.By readily trying to use economic and financial aid to push filthy habits down people`s throats shows the eternal neo-colonial mentality of the West.
Mr Peter Tatchell should know that 1/10 of what Africans have given and are still giving to the West will never be compensated for.Africa has never been a hopeless case only living in charity.They try to weaken Africans ,even when it has to do with disgraceful behaviour like that of Homosexuals.
If the puppets imposed by the West on Africans as leaders cannot be uprooted through Democratic ways,at least their asses with which they play hide and seek should be thrust to public view.If it is normal in the West to go naked in front of your children,go to bed with sisters,daughters,cousins and friends of the same sex,in Africa it is considered as insestious behaviour and can never be condoned under whatever circumstances.On their Tv screens they keep projecting the images of Africans dying from AIDS and Hunger ,soon when everybody on this continent would have gone deep into Homosexuality,and maybe infected by another pandemic,they will be shown on TV as the dogs that hit home their friends` asses.

manga che

Another List!!!

Officials top Cameroon rich list (BBC)

President Paul Biya was not mentioned on the list. The majority of Cameroon's 31 millionaires are civil servants, Cameroonian newspaper Le Front says.
President Paul Biya is not amongst the names listed - the top 15 of whom, the paper claims, have personal fortunes of more than $9m.

The BBC's Randy Joe Sa'ah in Yaounde, the capital, says most people are not surprised by the news as civil servants are visibly richer than businessmen.

The list also contains the names of five serving cabinet ministers.

Among the others listed are ambassadors and directors of state corporations.

Our correspondent says that copies of Le Front sold out quickly on Friday morning, as everyone was keen to see the millionaire list, which has become the talk of the country.

Le Front is a biweekly French-language newspaper that has been very critical of the government in the past, he says.
Newspapers in Cameroon are subject to considerable government restrictions and journalists have been jailed under libel laws.

lambert

Interesting perspective on Cameroonian attitudes towards gays by an American who describes himself as "theatrical, performance, artist, a very queer and quirky Quaker..."
******************************************
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Ancient Morality Lesson

Nothing bad happened to me in Cameroon, well, yes, I had some trouble cashing my travellers cheques and I had a little diarrhea thing for a few days, but in spite of the fact that I presented a gay themed play in a decidedly anti-gay country, I met no resistance. In fact, I was treated with respect and genuine warmth.

Not that everyone agreed with me, but unlike the citizens of Sodom and Gomorra who sought to take advantage and disrespect their visitors, Cameroonians treated me, the stranger, as an honored guest.

The friendliness, the warmth, the embrace surprised me, but then it didn't. It's just like when I travel to Southern states in the US. Friends ask, "Are you scared about going down South? Something bad might happen."

No, the only fear I have going South is that I won't be able to get a soy latte (but they even have Starbucks now in Huntsville, Alabama).

The concept of treating the stranger as guest is still alive in many places of the world, although sadly in America (particularly in the North) the practice is in deep decline. We assume that if we disagree strongely with someone then we have the right to mock them, act rudely and make them feel uncomfortable.

My audience in Cameroon was filled with conservative Christians, Muslims and scholars, some of whom firmly believe that homosexuality is a curse on society, and a crime that needs to be punished. That's reality, but a greater reality took over during my visit--the ancient guest-host relationship. That moral code overrode all others.

On my penultimate day in Cameroon I took this photo of young men swimming and lounging in the river. The juxtoposition of wooden canoes, an old rubber tire, sparkling water and young men fills the frame creating a harmony, creating beauty. That is the harmony and beauty I experienced in Cameroon

http://a_musing.blogspot.com/2005/04/ancient-morality-lesson.html


NjifenztBD(U.K)

ITS CRYSTAL CLEAR THAT PRACTISING HOMSEXUALITY IS A CONSTITUTIONAL VIOLATION IN CAMEROON LAW.
ALL THE GUILTY ONES MUST FACE THE PENALTY OF THE LAW.THE HEAD OF STATE IS BEING STUPID TO CONFRONT/OPPOSE JOURNALIST FOR VIOLATION OF PRIVACY.IF IS TRUELY A PRIVATE MATTER WHAT IS THE RAISON D'ETRE FOR THIS LAW IN OUR CONSTITUTION?
ITS IS FAIR TO SAY BEING GAY IS A HUMAN RIGHT OF CHOICE, BUT CAMEROON LAW FORBIDS THIS PRACTICE.INDIVIDUALS IN THIS CAPACITY MUST FACE THE FULL FORCE OF THE LAW.
I UTTERLY CONDERMN GAY/HOMOSEXUALITY/LESBIANISM.ITS IS DIABOLIC,AN EVIL HUMAN SUPERFICIAL PRACTICE TO JUSTIFY A 'SEEMINGLY RIGHTEOUS' WAY TO SEXUAL EMOTIONS;CONTRARY TO THE PREACHINGS OF CHRISTIANITY AND EVEN TO ISLAM.AN ABSOLUTE UNDEVINE ACT.
ZIMBABWE'S MUGABE ROBERT HAS TAKEN A CRITICAL AND HARD-LINE POSITION ON THIS SUBJECT AGAINST THE WEST TO JUSTIFY HIS CONTINEOUS CLING TO POWER.ALL THE GAY PEOPLE MUST BE NAMED,SHAMED,ARRESTED,JUDGED AND LOCKED UP ACCORDING TO THE JAIL TERMS PRESCRIBED BY THE LAW.
THE LAST THING CAMEROON NEEDS IS GAY LEADERS FRAMING A GAY REPUBLIC.THE HEAD OF STATE IS VERY,VERY STUPID FOR CRITICISING JOURNALISTS WHO ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING.

Christmas Ebini

I take no side in this issue. Whenever I stumble on a piece of information that I deem may interest our "diasporan" audience, I will forward it without prejudice and without making any comments. I will share "news" items from both sides.

In this matter, although I will not rush into taking sides, I cannot however be without an opinion on such a public debate. I do not take part in discriminating against people on the basis of race, gender, education, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, ethnicity ect. but I am a fervent believer in the rule of law. Those who feel they were unfairly mentioned by the journalists, are doing the right thing by taking the matter to court. The journalists (assuming they acted responsibly towards their profession) also did the right thing bringing to the attention of the public the disturbing information they found concerning the practices of people entrusted with the smooth running and morality of society.

The issue here is not whether these people are homosexuals. The issue is they broke the law by practicing homosexuality (if they actually did) in the manner in which they practiced it. I disagree with the law in Cameroon on homosexuality but it is the law and it is illegal to practice homosexuality in Cameroon and doing so (especially in high places) is broking the law and punishable accordingly. Another piece of the story is using sexual favors to give/obtain jobs and promotion. This must be unacceptable in any society and anyone (especially those sworn to uphold the law) engaging in this practice must be brought to book and it should not matter whether it is "normal" heterosexual practice or "abnormal" homosexual" practice.

We may not agree or like the existing Cameroonian law on homosexuality but until such a time that the right process is taken to change it, it is the Cameroonian law that homosexuality is illegal. We should not forget that even in the United States of America, it is just recently that Texas and other states changed their constitution from making sodomy illegal. The bottomline is, at least on the surface, the Cameroonian society seem to be handling this issue in a civilized manner. The journalists had a story which they cleared for publication. Rather than whisking the journalists to jail and seizing their paper, thus stopping sales, as has been the practice with the Cameroonian system, the victims (the politically powerful) have taken the matter to court. The burden of proof now lies with the journalists. It would not make any sense for the victims to be put in positions to prove that they are not homosexuals, without there being irrefutable proof that they are. It should also be established that they have used their "criminal" sexual orientation in corrupt professional practices in rendering their public functions.

Finally, the courts in Cameroon have been the most corrupt institution. The many problems our society suffers today are due to the corruption and injustices of our judges, lawyers etc. They have not been able to gather their own moral standing to fight for their independence from the executive branch. The corruption of our judiciary branch has been a major set back in our efforts to change the Cameroonian system and get rid of dictatorship, stop the rigging of elections, stop corruption, stop torture and human rights abuses. The hope is that the courts will this time around and with this case, give something different and hopeful for the future of our judiciary branch.

Christmas Ebini

Dyna Ngoy

Article 347 of the Cameroon Penal Code criminalizes sexual contact between members of the same sex with a penalty of six months to five years in prison and a fine of CFA francs 20,000 to 200,000. If the prohibited acts are carried out with a minor of sixteen to twenty-one years of age, the penalties are doubled. Homosexual acts both between men and between women are illegal in Cameroon

In this regard, the State has a case against accused of practicing homosexuality. The People of Cameroon vs Homosexuals. If found guilty, they should be sentenced accordingly.

The State Counsel or Procurer General should as a matter of duty open a case file on the matter and investigate those listed in the same way as they are currently doing for those accused of corruption. A criminal offense is a criminal offense and should be treated as such; whether it is homosexuality, embezzlement of public funds, rape, murder, theft or what have you. No double standard!!

Dyna Ngoy

Article 347 of the Cameroon Penal Code criminalizes sexual contact between members of the same sex with a penalty of six months to five years in prison and a fine of CFA francs 20,000 to 200,000. If the prohibited acts are carried out with a minor of sixteen to twenty-one years of age, the penalties are doubled. Homosexual acts both between men and between women are illegal in Cameroon

In this regard, the State has a case against those accused of practicing homosexuality. The People of Cameroon vs Homosexuals. If found guilty, they should be sentenced accordingly.

The State Counsel or Procurer General should as a matter of duty open a case file on the matter and investigate those listed in the same way as they are currently doing for those accused of corruption. A criminal offense is a criminal offense and should be treated as such; whether it is homosexuality, embezzlement of public funds, rape, murder, theft or what have you. No double standard!!

paolo  laurent

BUT,THATS CAMEROUN, THATS THE FRENCH
CAMEROUN. YOU ALL HAVE NO STAKE IN THIS
COUNTRY OR ELSE YOU SHOULD CRITICISE.
ANY ONE ONLY HAVE SOME THING TO SAY ON
A COUNTRY WHERE HE OR SHE CAN BE PROUD ENOUGH TO CALL HIS, BUT TRULLY ANGLOPHONES
IS LA REPUBLIQUE DU CAMEROUN, AS IT STANDS
YOUR COUNTRY? DO YOU OR YOUR CHILDREN HAVE ANYTHING GOOD TO GAIN? DO YOU HAVE AN INTEREST TO THE WEALTH OF THIS COUNTRY OR ITS HISTORY? IF THE ANSWER IS NO. TEN
PLEASE AS OF TODAY, THINK ABOUT CREATING
A STANDING ARMY FOR SOUTHERN CAMEROONS, IF
TALKS FAIL. OUR CHILDRENS CHILDREN SHOULD BE ABLE TO FIGHT ON TO BULD A COUNTRY FOR THEMSELVES TOMORROW, ONE THEY ALL CAN TAKE
SOME PRIDE.

blasius tondoh

as a cameroonian who has never accepted to be controlled by whoever ,i find it appalling that there are more issues in cameroon about people dying of malnutrition,aids and even malaria.there are the forgetten albino people who suffer the greatest racism i have ever seen .yes !you know what i am talking about .we as blacks as a whole are the most racist poeple in the world now not to mention we Africans .anyone out there should prove me wrong.we cry when the whites ruled us,we cry when they force us to their beliefs but we always forget that in our own back yards and villaghes there is alot of dicrimination and racism against those who unfortunately fall out pof the majority dumb and stupid net .we discriminate not only against gays but shorter people who some call Dwarfs we discriminate againsta especially the albino group we even discriminate against the poor .just look at how we treat anybody we deam (foolishly and ignorantly stupidly)lesser than who we are.
who do we cameroonians really think we are?we are still struggling towards civilisation.yes you thought we were civilised?shame on to you then.people who are civilised treat others with equal respect regardless or colour or origin.
everything we participate in in cameroon am sorry to say ,there is alwyas something racial coming out of it .like it or not we are uncivilsed humans who still need to be colonised.
who are you who thinks that some other humans choice of a sexual partner is wrong when u dont even know the history of your own race?how many people who are "the good poeple"of this flash country know about their ancestors whereabout 200 years ago?
we just get up and jump in any band wagon that is full not knowing if it is good for us or not ./
Cameroon is a country of the highest racial and ethnic discrimination .if you thought otherwise then you need to undergo some sort of col;onialism again

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