Vickie Remoe Institute of Digital Communications

The Politics of Genital Mutilation in Sierra Leone



As I seat at the airport catching up on news from Sierra Leone I was struck by the headline : Sierra Leone bans child brides but not FGM.

[[[[[[Senior MP Alassan Fofana told the BBC that there was a general consensus in parliament not to outlaw FGM. He said that measures had been introduced to control it and pointed out that this was more than previous parliaments had done.
“They were afraid to be tagged as calling for a ban on FGM. For a lot of people, this would have cost their political career,” he said.]]]]]

First off, I propose that we stop using the term Female Genital Mutilation as it misleads one to think of adult women…..and this i guess doesnt make it so bad. Lets call it Baby Genital Mutilation or Girl Genital Mutilation because the reality of it is that its young girls who suffer this painful and brutal procedure. I dont care how proud you are to be african blah blah blah, the truth of the matter is that using razor blades to chop of any part of any child’s body is wrong. Cultural relativity, Anthropology whatever, this is wrong.

The fact that our parliarment refuses to ban this practice says to me that they are a bunch of cowards. Men and women who are ashamed of standing up for the truth and justice. There is no reason why they should not ban baby girl genital mutilation. But there is also no logical reason why they have not taken action to reduce infant and maternal death rates…..Any politician who can openly confess that they cannot vote for what’s right because it would be the end of their political career is a coward and a loser and does not deserve to be in parliarment.
Honestly, I do not believe that voting to abolish female circumcision would end anyone’s career in Sierra Leone if the abolition was met with a public education campaign. Even without a campaign political careers would survive.

If political careers have not ended because of the lack of basic necessities like clean water & proper sanition, jobs, health services, i doubt female circumcision would rock the boat.
Our parliamentarians are propagating a myth so that they can use girl child mutilation in their campaigns. They want to be able to go to a community and say “VOTE FOR ME AND I’LL MAKE SURE WE CUT YOUR DAUGHTER’S CLIT OFF” (if you think this language is not tasteful, i agree with you). This is an easy campaign promise. Its much easier than providing jobs or health care and addressing fundamental issues that keep our people improverished. Its much easier than talking about unequal income distribution and access. Paying for 1000 girls to be mutilated is much much easier. And its a promise they know that can keep (read this article about president Kabbah’s late wife sponsoring circumcision in SL:Female genital mutilation a vote-winner in Sierra Leone)

There are those who may say as I once did that the girl child genital mutilation is not a problem and that its a cultural practice. To them i’d say, Slavery, burning widows, throwing away twins, apartheid, and lynchings were also cultural practices. Let no one use culture as a means to justify violence and injustice. CULTURE IS NOT STATIC. IT CHANGES.
Sierra Leoneans are progressive people who can adapt to change easily……(refer to how we adapt to the filth in freetown and constant black out and corruption) Let not our politicians be the guardians of our culture. They cant seem to manage their real responsibilities of state so why should we give them any more.



  1. Bk8 3 December, 2023 at 02:33

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