Malleus Maleficarum: Scrutinizing Sorcery in Cameroon
Ada Tchoukou, J. (2018). Malleus Maleficarum: Scrutinizing Sorcery in Cameroon. Journal of African Law, 1-18
14 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2018
Date Written: January 15, 2018
Drawing on ethnographic research, this article reflects critically on the current involvement of the Cameroonian state in witchcraft accusations. Unlike other African states where witchcraft is connected to religion and culture and as such is far detached from economics and politics, post colonial Cameroon associates witchcraft and other occult practices with being a major factor in its slow economic development. The state resorted to criminal law in its attempts to eradicate the practice. Its penal code subjects persons accused of witchcraft to imprisonment for up to ten years. This provision has been subject to great criticism, as its application has led to a high conviction rate of indigenous Cameroonians. The aim of this article is not to determine the appropriateness of this approach, but to raise questions and shed light on the various inconsistencies with criminalizing a practice that arguably constitutes an underlying basis of indigenous Cameroonian cultural heritage.
Keywords: Customary law, Cameroon, Legal Pluralism, Witchcraft, Culture
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