Monday, June 17, 2024

NAMs Divided in Opinions as Bill Seeking to Decriminalize FGM Practice is Tabled in Parliament

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By: Dawda Baldeh

The ongoing debate surrounding the ban on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and the recently tabled bill aiming to decriminalize it continues to gain momentum, capturing various views and opinions from rights activists, health personnel, and religious leaders, among others. The Fatu Network has reached out to several National Assembly Members (NAMs) regarding their stance on the matter, revealing a division in opinions.

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Responding to our reporter, Hon. Madi M.K Ceesay, the National Assembly Member for Serrekunda West, stated that parliamentarians should not make any decision without consulting their constituents. He emphasized that it would be unfair for a few parliamentarians to sit in Parliament and decide on behalf of citizens without proper consultation.

Unlike other NAMs who swiftly supported the law banning the practice, Hon. Ceesay took a different stance, suggesting that the bill should undergo a thorough process. He explained that when the bill reaches the second reading, it should be committed to a special committee for scrutiny and public consultation across the country.

“It would not be fair for a few of us to sit in parliament and make decisions on behalf of the majority without consulting them,” he remarked. Ceesay added, “Lawmakers should enact laws based on the consensus of the people. The minimum we can do is commit the bill to a committee to tour the country, gather people’s thoughts, and make an informed decision based on the committee’s findings.”

Furthermore, other National Assembly Members have shared their stance with The Fatu Network, supporting the law that criminalizes FGM in the country.

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“Repealing the law and leaving it as a blanket measure is detrimental and seriously undermines the country’s commitment to the various International Protocols we have signed,” stated Hon. Abdoulie Ceesay, the NAM for Old Yundum.

Meanwhile, Hon. Modou Lamin B. Bah, the National Assembly Member for Banjul North, affirmed, “I will always protect and safeguard the rights of girls and women in our country, and I will advocate for strengthening the law that banned FGM.”

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