By Elah Geoffrey Mbong
Christian Wiyghan Cardinal Tumi, Archbishop Emeritus of Douala has described as heinous and sacrilegious the practice of homosexuality. Speaking at a solemn service on Sunday December 31, 2017 at the St. Charles Lwanga Parish Molyko Buea, the prelate said “homosexuality is a crime against humanity.”
The priest was aghast by news that two ex-students of the celebrated St. Joseph’s College (SJC) Sasse were caught kissing at a party on Friday, December 15, 2017. Sasse College being a unisex catholic school, Cardinal Tumi regretted that students who had been given refined moral principles will go to the Europe and turn into something else.
The alumni caught in the shameful act – Marcel Alobwede and Sone Eric Salle – are to be studying at Conventry University in the United Kingdom.
Their peers of the Sasse Old Boys Association (SOBA), a grouping of ex-students of St Joseph’s College have since condemned the act, describing it as abominable.
Cardinal Tumi used his sermon inspired by Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 to state the position of the Catholic Church regarding same sex marriages.
Hear him: “The teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality is very clear: it is a grievous sin. A man marrying another man, and a woman a woman, is not only going against the teaching of the church, but also against the law of God. God created man and woman and told them to multiply. In a homosexual marriage procreation is not possible. And one of the conditions for a valid marriage is openness to procreation. Homosexuality therefore goes directly against God’s Law.”
The cleric proposed that if caught, the duo [Marcel Alobwede and Sone Eric Salle] should be punished in a way that will serve as a deterrent to others.
It would 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 from 20000 to 200000 francs FCFA, according to section 347 of the Penal Code. According to Human Rights Watch, at least 28 people in Cameroon have been charged, under the country’s anti-gay laws in the past three years – more than any other African Nation. But homosexual activities are on the rise in the country and police and gendarmes have stepped up efforts to clampdown on this.
This was the case in May 2005 when 11 men were arrested at a night club in Yaoundé 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 male acquaintances and sentence to three years imprisonment at the Kondengui Central Prison. The sentence was protested by international Human Rights organizations 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 the activists said.
In November 2011, a Cameroonian court convicted two young men, Jonas Kimie and Frank Ndome, who had been arrested for homosexuality outside a nightclub in Yaoundé based solely on their appearance and behaviour to five years imprisonment.
In July 2013, a prominent Cameroonian gay rights activist and Journalist, Eric Lembembe, was found murdered in his house in Yaoundé. Lembembe’s neck and feet appeared to have been broken and his face, hands and feet burnt with an iron, Human Rights Watch had said.