By Kingsly Boka
Some pastors of Pentecostal churches around the country are planning to organise a march against the rising trend of homosexuality.
This is coming amid mounting threats and acts of violence targeting the country’s sexual minorities.
The organisers, we learnt, are planning on brandishing anti-homosexual placards, distributing flyrs, pamphlets and T-shirts with anti-gay slogans.
It would be recalled that in 2013 a march against homosexuality had taken place in Yaounde marking an event which the organisers dubbed “Day Against Homosexuality”.
They had said it was intended to honour the memory of a 31-year-old student who was “sodomised and killed by homosexuals” in August 2006 at a Yaounde hotel. The Bishops of Cameroon had also years ago condemned the ratification of the Maputo Protocol, which permits States to legalise homosexuality and abortion in their countries.
Sometime ago, the Catholic Women Association, CWA, in Kumbo sub division in Bui division of the North West region had staged a protest march “against homosexuality, abortion and related ills”.
It should be noted that homosexuality is illegal in Cameroon and culprits can be punished with jail terms ranging from six months to five years, with a fine of 20,000 to 200,000 FCFA, according to Section 347 of the Penal Code.
Meanwhile, despite being illegal, homosexual activities are still on the rise in the country and police and gendarmes have stepped up efforts to clamp down on this.
Rights groups say Cameroon has prosecuted more gay, lesbian and bisexual residents than any other country in sub-Saharan Africa.
This was the case in May 2005 when 11 men were arrested at a nightclub in Yaounde on suspicion of sodomy, and the government threatened to conduct medical examinations to “prove” their homosexual activity.
Many other alleged homosexuals have been arrested and detained under Section 347 of the Penal Code. One of these, Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, was arrested by security forces for sending love SMS messages to a male acquaintance and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment at the Kondengui Central Prison in Yaounde.
The sentence was protested by international human rights organisations including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, the latter of which named him a prisoner of conscience.
Mbede later died in prison. He had not received medical treatment for a month before he died, activists said.I
In November 2011, a Cameroonian court convicted two young men, Jonas Kimie and Franky Ndome, who had been arrested for homosexuality outside a nightclub, based solely on their appearance and behaviour, to five years imprisonment.
In July 2013, prominent Cameroonian gay rights activist and journalist, Eric Lembembe, was found murdered in his house in Yaounde. Lembembe’s neck and feet appeared to have been broken and his face, hands, and feet burned with an iron, Human Rights Watch had said.
Another case is that of Mokenyu Walter Akumbu and his gay lover, Dominique Toh, who are said to have secretly had a homosexual amorous relationship for close to five years.
On January 10, 2019, Mokenyu Walter Akumbu and Dominique Toh were caught red-handed in a homosexual act in Bamenda, North West region.
A crowd gathered and the population seriously tortured them. Akumbu escaped, but his lover, Toh, was unfortunate as he was beaten to death.
While the police are hunting for Akumbu to answer for the crime of homosexuality, the population of the quarter where he was caught have also vowed to lynch him anytime they set eyes on him.
It should be recalled that the offices of a human rights activist, who fights for homosexual rights, Barrister Alice Nkom, were also years back ransacked by unknown assailants.
Most homosexuals in Cameroon believe their lives are constantly in danger as they are continuously being persecuted not only by security operatives but also by the public and sometimes their own family members.