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Cameroon looks to legislate a bill that criminalises tribalism

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A legislation encapsulating “contempt of tribalism” may soon be incorporated into the Cameroonian Criminal Code, according to a bill tabled in parliament by the government on Wednesday, 13 November 2019.

According to the bill, the modification of the Code is justified by the resurgence of hate speech based on tribalism in the public space, especially on social media, thus jeopardizing peace, security and national cohesion.

If passed and gazetted, the planned legislation will call for one to two years sentence and a fine of CFA300 000 to CFA three million for any offender convicted of being an apologist for tribalism through hate speech or incitement to violence against individuals based on their ethnicity or tribe.

Such penalties will be doubled, without the need to invoke extenuating circumstances, when the author of the hate speech is an official, the head of a political party, the media, a non-governmental organization or a religious institution.

Regard the contempt for races and religions, the Cameroonian legislator provides for imprisonment ranging from six days to six months and a fine of CFA5 000 to CFA500 000.

The fine will amount to CFA20 million if the offense is committed through the media or any other means likely to reach the public.

These sentences are doubled if the offense is committed in order to incite hatred or contempt among citizens.

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