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Spotlight on Africa

Cameroon moves to punish adultery, sparks outcry

Audio 09:13
A lawyer waits in front of a court in Yaoundé, Cameroon
A lawyer waits in front of a court in Yaoundé, Cameroon AFP PHOTO/Reinnier Kaze

Cameroon's Lower House of Parliament has passed a new law to reform the country's 50-year old penal code. The new text criminalizes what has been described as immoral behavior and includes controversial measures such as punishing adultery.


Authorities say the changes are necessary to modernize Cameroon, but critics argue the new law is unconstitutional.

"For a legal instrument this important, consultation was needed," Joshuah Osih, vice president of the main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front told RFI.

Civil society members complain they were not given adequate warning before last Thursday's vote, whereas some lawyers challenge the reform on legal grounds.

RFI’s Christina Okello looks at why it’s causing so much debate.

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