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Strauss-Kahn And Cameroon’s Own Rutting Chimpanzees 

By Clovis Atatah In Vienna, Austria

About a week ago, millions of Europeans were jolted by the shocking news of the arrest in New York of prominent French Socialist and then Managing Director of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, on allegations of sexual assault. Strauss-Kahn, who was nabbed from a Paris-bound plane just 10 minutes before take-off, was accused of locking in a chambermaid (of Guinean nationality) who came to clean his Sofitel Hotel room, and then doing terrible sexual things to her.

New York prosecutors showed no mercy, despite Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s enormous clout, and detained him in a section of the notorious Rikers Island jail, reserved for people charged with very serious crimes such as murder. DSK (a moniker formed from Mr Strauss-Kahn’s initials) was initially denied bail, but later granted house arrest in New York under very tough conditions, including electronic monitoring and permanent guard at his cost.

Press reports said a majority of French people, who had been seriously considering electing DSK their president, in polls expected next year, were dismayed by their hero’s undignified treatment by American judicial authorities. They were particularly scandalised by the so-called pep walk by which a suspect is led to court in handcuffs in the full glare of cameras and onlookers.

DSK supporters were probably even more indignant when Tristane Banon, a female French journalist who had earlier accused DSK of trying to rape her nearly 10 years ago, started speaking up again. She said in the encounter DSK behaved like a "rutting chimpanzee"; a chimp on heat. Her allegations were of course additional arsenal for New York’s prosecutors and weakened the position of DSK who had been reluctant resigning his coveted IMF post.
It has been said often that the French mindset is very different from that of the Anglo-Saxons, and the DSK saga may just be ocular proof of that.

In countries such as the US and Britain, the allegations by the French journalist against DSK, first made public not long before he got his IMF job three years ago, would have likely snowballed into a huge scandal. Not in France, where Presidents have traditionally kept mistresses and where allegations of sexual misconduct by the high and mighty are often swept under the rug.

In Cameroon, where traditional sexual maltreatment of women has not been helped by a dominating French cultural influence, the issue of sex scandals are not even remotely in the picture. Salaciousness and impunity in high places have fed a culture of sexual irresponsibility. Although polygamy is a legal and accepted practice in Cameroon, the high and mighty, and many others in positions of ascendancy, are frequently exploiting women sexually in various ways.

As a journalist, I witnessed on several occasions how top Government officials used their positions of power whenever they were on missions out of Yaounde to exploit young girls, some still kids. These girls, with the connivance of their parents – who are either greedy or just simply fear reprisals by the repressive regime – are frequently forced to sleep with old men they find nauseating.

This practice is now widely accepted, and anytime there is a Government team on mission, you can bet anything that sexual crimes will be committed. This pervasive culture of sexual indulgence in elitist circles is not only disturbing because of the moral destruction of the youth, but equally because of the enormous time and resources that are lost to these escapades.

Some young women in Yaounde, with whom I got acquainted during my journalistic stint in the capital city, narrated on many occasions just how senior civil servants fritter the country’s resources away to satisfy their runaway sexual appetites. Typically, a civil servant whose official income is not anything to write home about spends a fortune to pay house rents, foot hospital bills and frequent entertainment outings, among other expenses, to several young girls simultaneously.

Once, one of these young women, who was shocked by my incredulity when she told me that she sometimes receives upwards of 200,000 FCFA in one package – and that not only once a month –  set out to prove me wrong. Two days later, she handed to me an envelope bulging with crispy bank notes she had just received from a senior civil servant, after an expensive lunch he offered. The envelope contained 500,000 FCFA! If you don’t believe me, good for you, because you will probably have a sound sleep. Those who know otherwise are condemned to sleepless nights.

That is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a horde of women Government contractors in Yaounde, who execute only one type of contract – quenching the sexual appetites of the Yaounde regime’s rutting chimps. These women, who generally operate under the cover of third parties, each receive millions of francs every month, without doing any work for the State. Billions of francs are lost in this way.

This culture of sexual impunity has permeated many other sectors of national endeavours, and may be bleeding the country to death. During important conferences in Cameroon, for instance, participants generally sleep through, or are only half awake, because of such indulgence the night before. Male bosses of companies lose money employing incompetent women for similar reasons.

Many MPs spend time doing kinky things at Hôtel des Députés or at students’ hostels in Yaounde instead of thinking about how to improve the terrible state of the country.
Many Cameroonians are only recently becoming aware that their darling national football team, the Indomitable Lions, have under-performed on several occasions partly because of sex-related issues.

These are just a few examples in a long list of how the culture of sexual irresponsibility and exploitation are dragging the country down. It may not be a bad thing if Cameroon started having its own sex scandals that bring down wayward politicians.