Five Cameroonian laws you didn’t know exist

To many Cameroonians, the law has to do with punishing ‘bad deeds’ and policing state policy into effect. But there is more to that than you could think. These are five Cameroonian laws you had no clue about and how to exploit them:

Law on abortion

As kids and even in school, the general word is abortion is illegal. Right? Wrong. The circumstances matter more than you think. While advocates term the law on abortion as very limiting, there exist some clauses that can permit a lady have a safe medically assisted abortion.

Induced abortions are permitted in the case where the woman’s physical/mental health is at risk (yes my friend, some miscarriages are abortions). The process is also permitted when the lady got pregnant as a result of rape or incest. Say no to unsafe abortions, follow the law.

[Penal code, Law No. 2016/007, Articles 337 – 339 of the Penal Code]

Underage marriage

18 is the minimum age for marriage in Cameroon. And still, you can marry a girl below that age. The permission of the child’s parents is imperative, the absence of which would necessitate that of another guardian, possibly the grandparent.

Also, to have this very rare exemption, the lady [and her serious boyfriend] can get the blessing of the President of the Republic to permit the union. Of course it would require a very justified reason backed by the consent of the parents.

[Cameroon civil code Articles 144, 145, 150]

No arrest without warrant

‘Monter’ is not a strange word to many a Cameroonian. But have you ever wondered what will happen if you refuse to follow security officers to a detention centre? The law demands that they identify themselves first, and then present a warrant for your arrest. Without this warrant, they can’t take you anywhere except you were caught committing a crime red handed. As intimidating as it may be when the moment comes, make bold to demand a warrant. It might save you.

[Law No. 2005 of 27 July 2005 on the Criminal Procedure code. See section 31]

Declaration of assets

Who is the richest minister in Cameroon? Well, let us not go far. What is the net worth of your local MP or Mayor?

Appointed/elected officials are required by law to declare their assets within 90 days of getting into office and 60 days after forfeiting the position. The law passed by parliament on April 25, 2006 (16 years ago) made provisions for a commission to follow up the process and ensure accountability. The law is meant to ensure transparency and curb corruption.

Oh! The head of state is yet to give his approval. Well, just thought it wise you to let you know.

[See Article 66 of Cameroon’s constitution]

 Tax exemption for new businesses

How would you like to commercialise a good/service and make profit without paying all required taxes? That is exactly what the Cameroon Tax code stipulates. And you can ‘get away’ with this for up to two years. How?

The law states that new businesses are not required to pay Business License Contribution for their first year of operation. Now, here is where it gets interesting: If your business is a member company of government approved management centres, the figure goes to two years. Imagine what good a two-year tax-free period can do you. Remember, like other opportunities, this is not just given. You have to reach out and take it.

[See section C 12 (1), (2) of General Tax code]

Bonus: Your phone and your home are like your private parts. Don’t let them touch it without first showing you the paperwork. The law demands before you are searched, a warrant to that effect signed by the State Counsel, an Examining Magistrate of a trial court be presented by a police officer ordered to the task. Be it your home, or your phone at a police checkpoint, they have no right to exploit them without the paperwork.

Warrant for down, phone for hand.

[Law No. 2005 of 27 July 2005 on the Criminal Procedure code]

Cover image credit: Prime Time Law Office



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