By Jones Fugwang
An orphan, Rosalie Kemgang, now 25 years, has reportedly deserted her foster parents, in Limbe, protesting against their insistence that she should get married to an old man, as his third wife.
Her whereabouts is not known, but she is said to have escaped with her boyfriend, whom she prefers to marry.
In Cameroon, according to Article 65(I) of its Civil Status Ordinance, “Marriage shall not be celebrated if consent was obtained by force”.
But many cases have been reported how parents make marriage choices for their children against their will, a situation that often leads to unhappiness in such matrimony.
This reporter gathered that, Rosalie’s worry is not only the advanced age of the proposed groom by her guardians, but also the fact that the man is not her choice and is a polygamist.
According to reports, Rosalie’s foster father, a certain Mr.Pehuia Innocent, had already collected a huge sum of money from the old man Mr. Akwa Usman, as her bride price without her consent.
Rosalie Kemgang has been an orphan since the age of three and was brought up by her late mother’s friend Mrs.Noumbi Emilienne, married to Mr.Pehuia.
Living with her foster parents, Rosalie is said to have complained of repeated sexual harassment from their son whose name we only got as Pascal.
And to free Rosalie from their son’s molestation, her foster father thought the way out was for her to accept suitor Usman’s hand in marriage.
The father persuaded her and took her to Mr. Usman’s house, last January, where she reportedly and hesitantly stayed there for some days before running away.
Preferring her boyfriend for marriage rather than the father’s choice, Rosalie started having problems with her foster parents. The supposed husband too was now threatening to have his so-called wife or refund of his money.
But as tension grew, Rosalie, uncertain about her safety, is said to have left them last March, escaping to an unknown destination with her boyfriend.
Many rights activists have questioned, time and again-why some parents, in this 21st century, still think that they must take decisions for their educated and mature children, especially concerning a sensitive issues like marriage?
(Originally published in The HORIZON, Cameroon, April 3, 2013)