By Marvine Bikeh Amuno
On April 14, 2014,
the population of Small Mankon in Bamenda, North West Region could not believe their
eyes when a young man (names withheld) was hospitalized after he revealed that
had anal sex with his partner in crime. When news spread in the neighbourhood,
irate family members and members of the quarter vigilant group launched a
manhunt for the perpetrator whose name we got as Asobo Divine Nde. When the
irate youths could not lay hands on the perpetrator, they released their anger by
ransacking his two room house. His belongings were removed and burnt. “We will
not admit a ritualist in our midst”, he shouted. Jean Claude Mbenka, a member
of the quarter vigilant group whispered to this reporter that he had suspected
Asobo for being a ritualist yet had no evidences to pin him down. “He is lucky;
we would have taken that devil out of him. The police would have only come to carry
his corpse to their cell”, he fumed. Asobo’s closest neighbours hinted us at
weekend that since April 14, police have continuously interrogated them on the where-about
of Asobo. “I am looking for a new house to quit this vicinity. Last year, it
was a Christian Sect that was uncovered here where several men shared several
wives but this one is the worst”, he continued. “I use to think that these
young boys usually come here to play foot pools, I didn't know that they were a
group of outcast. I was wondering what kind of a man this boy was because I
have never seen him with a girl. I thought he was a very good boy. God forbid”.
Homosexuality and or lesbianism are considered is taboo in Africa. Not only the law punishes it, the church and the tradition on the other side denounces it with a lot of brutality.
The story goes that Asobo Divine was a very hardworking young man but was reserved. One of his neighbours narrated how Asobo was a kind and handsome young man but added that when the information of him being gay became public, he couldn’t believe that God should allow such a devil to take away the young man. The hospitalized innocent victim is quoted by close family members to have revealed that he was attracted to practicing homosexuality when Asobo Divine told him the high merits of being gay which includes wealth and popularity. He added that he convinced by the luxurious lifestyle of offender who has been so generous to some of his mates. He also revealed that he used to receive FCFA 20.000 after each sex spree. And he was using the money in playing foot pool, allegations abound. One of his classmates is also quoted to have said that he observed that his friend was always absent from school and at time passes time sleeping, he started questioning what was wrong but his friend was mute.
Even though many stories have been told about the incident, on which is on every lip goes that the alleged innocent student only revealed his tribulation of being gay to the parents when he could not bear the pains. The angry parents were in shock and took the matter to the police. Before the police could launch a manhunt for Asobo, the vigilant group have searched almost all the homes in the quarter for the culprit to no avail. Divine had disappeared when he probably sensed danger, a school of thought holds. Asobo’s friends on the hand, though talking in hiding are also afraid that their friend might have been eliminated even by his own family members given that he was tipped as the family head. One of them who spoke to us on grounds of animosity hinted that Asobo’s family is more furious than the family of the innocent student. “His phone is not going through and I am afraid of his life”, he murmured. It is even alleged that the kwifon of his village has already banished him from stepping his leg on his father’s land. The “kwifon” we gathered has given Asobo’s family members one week to give them seven goats, seven fowls and seven calabashes of mimbo as fined for abomination committed by their son.Many young men and women have suffocated in silence for being gay or lesbians in Cameroon. Even gay activists have been having tough times with government, traditionalists and even the church. In some traditions, young boys and girls have been expelled from their villages as soon as they are suspected to practice the same sex activities. Section 347 of the Penal Code in Cameroon states that: "whoever has sexual relationships with a person of the same sex shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years and a fine from 20.000 FCFA to 200.000 FCFA". In November 2011, the Yaounde Courts sentenced two young men to five years simply for being gay. Another one was slammed five years for texting a message to a friend declaring his love. In Douala, mob justice took away the life of a young man at Makepe when he was suspected of being a homosexual. Award winning Human Rights activist Me Alice Nkom, recently declared that "violence against gay people in Cameroon has skyrocketed to unprecedented level", this is indicative due to the fact that even gay activists have been beaten and tortured to death.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. (The 2014 Bloggies Finalist)