Monday, June 17, 2024

NAMs frown at banning FGM/C in Gambia, call for repeal of law

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By: Muhammed Lamin Drammeh

Following the sentencing and fine of three female circumcisers in the Gambia last week, several National Assembly Members (NAM) of the Gambia, including some women lawmakers, today frowned at the banning of female genital mutilation/circumcision in the Gambia, calling for a repeal of the law, suggesting that it should be a matter of choice instead of a criminal act.

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The National Assembly Member for Baddibu Central, Sulayman Saho, moved the motion of the day and read a statement against the banning of FGM, noting that it has brought discomfort to society.

Honourable Saho noted that it should be a matter of choice instead of arresting people and bringing them before the courts.

“Hon. Speaker, we need dialogue on this matter instead of arresting our mothers and sisters to be arranged before the courts. This is creating discord among us.

In my opinion, it should be a matter of choice instead of banning it because of funding received from the West. If you are of the opinion that to help the women, why not support them with materials for sanitation? Banning the act is like a recipe for discord in our society,” he said.

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On her part, the National Assembly Member of Foni Brefet, Honourable Amie Colley, who said she was speaking for the people of Foni Brefet, explained that the women in her constituency said they do not support the law prohibiting the practice of female circumcision.

“As a Muslim woman, I am ashamed to stand in the August gathering to talk about circumcision, to talk about the secret of women.

I am speaking with the voice of the people from Foni Brefet and Gambia at large. My people said they don’t like the idea of banning female genital mutilation. What they want is to let this practice be neutralized. If any tribe wants to practice circumcision, you do it. If you don’t want to, leave it,” she submitted to the parliament.

Several other National Assembly Members, including the member of Latri Kunda Sabiji, Kiang West, Brikama South, and nominated member Fatoumatta Jawara, all submitted against the banning of the FGM.

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Female Genital Circumcision has been banned in the country by the former President, Yahya Jammeh. However, it has recently generated controversy when some women were arrested for practising it.

No member of the parliament disagreed with the motion moved by Sulayman Saho, against the banning of the practice. The members are not working on repealing the act.

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