By MUAHMMED Sailu BAH
Young activists are calling for legislation on female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) following the pronouncement made by president Jammeh banning the practice.
FGM/C, according to activists, is a deep rooted culture that has been into practice for many generations but has no place in today’s world.
Foroyaa caught up with some of the activists on Thursday, 26 November, 2015 to share their views on the pronouncement made by the president during his dialogue with the people tour at a meeting in Kanilai, his hometown.
Most of the people this reporter spoke welcome the ban, while few indicate their support for the practice of FGM/C.
Omar Gibba, a youth activist,welcomed the news and described it as a milestone. “Now is the time to consolidate and push for legislation through the National Assembly,” he emphasised.
He said this is the result of the unrelenting efforts of activists and organisations such as GAMCOTRAP in the Gambia which over the years have been calling for a ban of this harmful traditional practice.
Halimatou Ceesay, a Journalist and a Woman Rights Activist, said this should be an example to young people that they can participate in decision making. She said since the young people started showing interest in the campaign against FGM that is when people started seeing positive results as exemplified by the ban.
She said what is left now is for the communities around the country to be notified of this development.
A young lady in her mid twenties in the West Coast Region, who prefers anonymity, said “Anyway I do not see any reason why the practice is being banned as this has been here for many years.”
Jankey Touray also from the West Coast Region and in her late twentiesexpressed skepticism regarding the development. She said neither supports nor opposes the ban.“In fact some people did suffer from it while others did not,” she said.
Amie Ann, Youth Activist from Banjul expressed her support for the ban, citing examples of the harm that the practice has been doing to women concerning their health, etc.
Fatou Ndure another activist from Banjul also supported the move and made similar comments.
Baboucarr Kebbeh, who doubles as the Communication Officer of the National Youth Council (NYC) and the Vice Chairman of the Kanifing Youth Committee, called on all those in gender advocacy to amplify their voices in opposition to harmful traditional practices.
Another young activist from Sanchaba Sulay Jobe added her voice in support of the development. Aji Mariam Leigh said “after all the sensitization, hard work and struggles, it is a relief that FGM has finally been banned in the Gambia.”
Awa Jeng of Banjul said FGM/C might have been culturally accepted before but not now. She described it as a violation against children’s rights.