Stoning ceremonies


Cameroon (Photo credit: treesftf)


Stones (Photo credit: rkramer62)

The Bafut kingdom of Cameroon
installed their kings only after a
candidate had been presented to the
people for a ‘stoning’ ceremony. In the
case of approval of a new leader the
stones consisted of tiny harmless
pebbles, but if the candidate was not
desired the stones were large injurious
rocks hurled to maim, chase off or
even kill the proposed incumbent. It
reminded the new ruler what would
happen to him if his or her rule
became illegitimate.

If the leader survived the coronation, dethronement was unlikely because systems were put in place to provide checks and
balances to the king so that he/she did not defy accountability to the people.
Ritual acts and elements such as ceremonial objects with an established protocol for usage (e.g. a sceptre, crowns, utensils, stools and flywhisks)
could not be used at the king’s whim.
These objects were invested with divine or ancestral power to inhibit their abuse. If the transfer of power from one leader to the other did not
follow agreed procedures, the usurper of the throne would be disapproved by the gods, evidenced by misfortunes arising from his or her attempted use of the sacred objects. These misfortunes would be in the form of sterility, madness or even death, and
could extend to the people who colluded to install the leader fraudulently. The misfortunes also applied to any rightful leader who
turned against his or her own people

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