The President of the Republic has poked CPDM foolish majority over the adoption of the new Penal Code proposed by government. This is following the adoption of the New Penal Code on Wednesday, June 22, 2016 and Tuesday, June 28, 2016, by both the National Assembly (Lower House) and the Senate (Upper House). Allegedly, the strong signals emitted by Common Law Lawyers in Bamenda, Mamfe and Kumba as well as the walk-out staged by SDF, MDR Members of Parliament obliged President Biya to return the new Penal Code back to the National Assembly for a second reading. It should be noted that there was an uproar at the National Assembly by SDF, MDR Parliamentarian who were joined in the boycott one Parliamentarian of the ruling CPDM, Hon Martin Oyono.
SDF, MDR MPs alongside lone CPDM MP Stage walkout on Section 127
|The foolish majority in the House|
Bamenda Kumba, Mamfe Lawyers Stage Street Protest
|Lawyers decrying abuse of human rights|
Activists Murmuring over Lesbianism/Gay Rights
|Teneng Nelly Brown Mengwi|
Though no one has made a public statement on the controversial New Penal Code, nothing has changed in relation to Section 347 which 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". Those caught in the act will be punished the same like tenants whose faith now depends on President Biya. It should be recalled that in 2011, two young men were sentenced to five years simply for being gay. Human Rights activist Me Alice Nkom, who of late was vocal in defending gay rights, is quoted to have said that "violent behavior against gay people has reached crisis level".
There is the pathetic case of Teneng Nelly Brown Mengwi who was arrested in 2012 and was almost killed for allegedly initiating young girls in Bamenda into lesbianism. In a desperate attempt to rescue her from mob justice, the father was severely beaten and he died after sustaining serious injuries. Matters came to a head when Nelly’s name resurfaced in another lesbianism scandal in 2014. Per the Penal code, she was going directly to prison but she allegedly escaped alongside the mother and siblings to an unknown destination. A manhunt by law enforcement officials to bring her to book did not yield any fruits. It is rumoured that the young girl escaped to Nigeria yet a family member is quoted as saying that they fear she might have been ambushed and killed by mob as in the African set up such practices are considered as a sacrilege. The number of young boys and girls who have disappeared mysteriously for practicing lesbianism or being gay has skyrocketed says Julius Ntamark Mbih, Human rights activist. However, Julius laments that it is disappointing that the new Penal Code still has the same shortcoming for not protecting the rights of gays and lesbians. He regrets that Cameroon which is hoping to emerge by 2035 could not embrace lesbianism and gay practices.
Lawyers Barred from Talking to Journalists
The President of the Bar Council has issued a release banning lawyers from making any public declarations to journalists. The release comes after lawyers threatened a nationwide strike to express their disgust over the controversial new Penal Code. Barrister Kamnga issued the released after lawyers in Bamenda, Kumba and Mamfe staged a protest march against certain articles of the penal code. However, classified sources linked to the Cameroon Bar Association have hinted that President Biya written to the Bar Association arguing them to stay away from street demonstration as it could lead to generalized crisis. Allegedly, President Biya in the letter promised that he will personally look into the issues raised by the lawyers. This is however indicative that it may take time for the President to promulgate into law the said Bill
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