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Policy in Cameroon, and on the African continent more generally, is often summarily referred to as the result of neopatrimonial authority. This paper rejects the framework of neopatrimonial authority in Cameroon, applying Weberian notions of charismatic authority to trace the development of queer policy from the pre-colonial period to the present. This paper first analyzes the impact of European colonialism on legal language and then investigates the rhetorical defense of this legal language following independence. Since statehood, the presidencies of Ahmadou Ahidjo (1960 - 1982) and Paul Biya (1982 - ) have implemented selective enforcement of inherited legalisms through near unilateral action. As activists attempt to change the Cameroonian legalisms criminalizing the queer body, this analysis argues that changing the opinions of head of state has the greatest capacity to enact change given the federal configuration of power.



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