Cameroonians have been busy these last days debating the merits and demerits of the Penal Code. This has seen lawyers from Bamenda, Kumba, Mamfe going out to the streets to protest some controversial sections of the bill such as criminalising 2 months rents payment failure to landlords and the Government Ministers immunity.
The Cameroon Bar Council and the Anglophone Journalist Association had earlier on called on the President to send back the bill for revision. The Bar Council argued that the said bill fell short of Cameroon’s duty in respecting her international treaties.
However, Mr. Biya pretentiously yielded to the pressure and ordered article 127 which focused on the Government Ministers immunity to be reviewed. The other controversial sections, BaretaNews cannot confirm if they will be adjusted.
The major news of the day is the supposed lobbying of Homosexual legalization. It seems the penal code revision is taking some major twists from lobbyists who want to see Homosexuality legalized in the country. The Guardian Post Newspaper in their Friday, 1st July 2016 edition reported that strong lobbying is currently going on to force lawmakers legalised Homosexuality in the country.
According to the Guardian Post Newspaper, they said that a source on good authority informed them about a cream of strong lobbying piling up pressure to the effect that the practice of homosexuality, which still remains criminal in the country, be made legal.
Worthy of note is that the provision in the bill (section 347 paragraph 1) concerning homosexual activities, reads: “Whoever has sexual relations with a person of the same sex shall be punished with imprisonment for from 6 (six) months to 5 (five) years and fine of from FCFA 20,000 (twenty thousand) to FCFA 200,000 (two hundred thousand).”
Homosexuality, it should be pointed out, remains a crime in 32 other African countries. It is still unclear how far these lobbyists could go to make their wishes a reality. BaretaNews strongly believes that considering the political nature of the Cameroons, mindful of the religious and traditional set up of the country, such a lobbying to legalised homosexuality is doomed to fail. We think it would be difficult for the government to entertain and legalised such a practice which still remains a taboo in the continent.
However, the plenary session of the National Assembly convened on Thursday 30th 2016 for the review of the Penal code turned crazy and rowdy when the SDF parliamentary group leader, Joseph Banadzem Lukong, raised a preliminary objection on grounds that the procedure for the introduction of the amendment was at variance with the standing orders of the house. It took the intervention of the House Speaker, Cavayé Yéguié Djibril, to suspend parliamentary business for an hour. The deliberations were subsequently postponed to Friday July 1st, 2016.
BaretaNews will bring you updates as we received them.
God is still saying something.