Liberia’s female traditional leader Mama Torma is claiming that there are health centers here still allegedly practicing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), an allegation that shocks international guests and partners working with Liberia to end FGM.
She made the claim Wednesday, 6 February during the celebration of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM at the Monrovia City Hall, but did not name a single health center that is involved.
Mama Torma’s comment came at a time Liberia’s partners including the United States Embassy, Embassy of Sweden, the European Union Delegation to Liberia, Plan International, International Commission on Human Rights (INCHR) and the International Rescue Committee (IRC) are expressing serious anger over the prolonged delay by government to pass laws against gender – based violence and FGM.
She frowns at some international partners who do not see the traditional people as the medium through which the act of female genital mutilation can be eradicated in Liberia.
In a very angry mood, Madam Torma says that the health centers involved in the practice of FGM are allegedly doing so openly in communities without any action taken against them.
She believes the lack of action against the unnamed health centers is simply because the traditional people who supposed to provide information on them to the government were sidelined by partners.
She explains that this made it difficult to fight FGM. The female traditional leader also disagrees with some partners who say that Gender – based Violence and FGM Law will not be passed unless the portion of the Law that calls for an end to female genital mutilation is removed from the Act.
Mama Torma says partners should leave traditional business with the traditional people who control culture, warning that that it will be difficult for partners to succeed in the fight against FGM when traditional people are left out of the process.
She gives precondition that traditional people are willing to abolish FGM if only international partners realize that traditional people must be included in the fight.
She calls for more constructive engagement with traditional leaders here, and appeals to partners to see the Mama Torma Tradition Center as a medium through which the lives of females can be improved through the provision of education and skills training for their betterment.
By Emmanuel Mondaye –Edited by Winston W. Parley