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Cameroon: Homophobia as a political ploy

Cameroon provides the latest example of a despicable tradition in homophobic nations — hurling accusations of homosexuality as a political ploy.


From the African Human Rights Media Network


Professor Pascal Charlemagne Messanga Nyamding (Photo courtesy of Camer.be)

By Courtney Stans

Politician and professor Pascal Charlemagne Messanga Nyamding recently floated the claim that his own ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement (CPDM) party is controlled by homosexuals.

Cameroon President Paul Biya (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Cameroon President Paul Biya (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

He made that charge in the World News Cameroon newspaper despite the fact that the CPDM is the party of the country’s revered longtime president, His Excellency Paul Biya.

Messanga Nyamding, a professor of political science at the Institute for International Relations (IRIC) at the University of Yaoundé II, is known for expressing homophobic views to his students, claiming that homosexuality is an unnatural and even diabolical practice.

This isn’t the first time he has used the issue of homosexuality for political ends.

During the 2018 presidential campaigns, Messanga Nyamding accused Cameroonian opposition leader Professor Maurice Kamto of being a supporter of homosexuality.

He presented no evidence to support that statement, nor has he presented evidence to back up his latest complaint about the CPDM. Yet many Cameroonians still believe him.

His latest homophobic denunciation came on Oct. 8, when he declared about the CPDM that “the queers who run our party” threatened to take him to the party’s disciplinary council if he did not go along with their plans.

Unlike those political opponents, he said, he and his allies are the true supporters of President Paul Biya — “the real biyaists”.

Courtney Stans adds:

This culture of hatred, intolerance, rejection and violence should be urgently denounced because it contributes to the meteoric rise in homophobia in our homes and neighborhoods.

It’s wrong to fuel popular prejudices for selfish political reasons.

Rejecting such hateful statements is one way to fight homophobia and  protect human rights.

Courtney Stans, the author of this article, is a Cameroonian journalist who writes under a pseudonym. Contact her at info@76crimes.com.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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