CABINET MINISTER HONOURABLE DR. SYLVIA OLAYINKA BLYDEN ON FRIDAY 19TH AUGUST 2016, SUCCINCTLY STATED GOVERNMENT POLICY AS OUTLINED UNDER PILLAR 8 OF THE AGENDA FOR PROSPERITY WHEN SHE SAID: "Whilst I will most vehemently protect our girls from being subjected to female circumcision, I will never stop a woman above age 18 years from exercising her right to be circumcised or be initiated into the Bondo Society!"
THE VERY NEXT DAY, ON SATURDAY 20TH AUGUST 2016, HON. NENEH RUGIATU TURAY, THE SUPPOSED DEPUTY MINISTER SERVING UNDER HON. DR. BLYDEN IN THAT SAME SOCIAL WELFARE MINISTRY, PUBLICLY REACTED AGAINST HER BOSS' STATED POSITION AND HER STRONG WORDS AGAINST GOVERNMENT POLICY AND DR. BLYDEN, WE ARE NOW PRODUCING VERBATIM BELOW - all spelling & grammatical mistakes and her unfortunate ignorance of what the 'D' in CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) represents, is to be credited to her rather low educational level. It is this same poor educational level (ee nor understand English) that has caused her to say this editor of Awareness Times subjected her to "serious criticism" for "condemning FGM".
No. No. No, Please someone tell Hon. Neneh not to blame me because she doesn't understand the English I wrote. I did not criticise her for condemning FGM. I seriously criticised her for maliciously undermining the efforts of her Boss Dr. Sylvia Blyden and for doing and saying things that have made many Ebola Survivors angry with her. I also pointed out that it is not only Ebola Survivors but even Bondo Women are angry with her to extent they recently stormed the ministry to sing songs against her. I recalled how in this very August month, she forgot her position as a Deputy Minister and stooped so low as to drag two Bondo Women to Lunsar Marampa Court Barray and it was her dear Father and P.C. Koblo Queen who had to beg to restore her dignity after the Bondo Women publicly exposed her inside the Court Barray as being the one who was at fault of offending them so she even had no business dragging them to traditional court. The Bondo Women also exposed to her Lunsar people that day of how she was merely spreading lies that person(s) paid them to demonstrate against her.
Please someone ask Hon. Neneh, to go and learn to read and understand written English before she attacks me or my newspaper next time.
HER ILL-WRITTEN PIECE NOW FOLLOWS VERBATIM.
BY NENEH TURAY: "Sierra Leone still remain one of the few Countries that has not outlaw FGM. And it is one of the Country with highest high infant mortality rate . It is also one of the countries with high percent of women who have undergone through FGM.
A 19 year old girl Fatmata.Turay SS4 student died immediately after being through FGM. Her death came after I Rugiatu Neneh Turay who now serves as Deputy Minister have gone under serious criticism from the awareness times news paper for condemning FGM. I am not a medical practitioner but a survivor who choosed to be campaigner to save the lives of other women and girls through out my entire life. And I still believe that FGM should and must not be an issue of an age of consent. Let me make it clear to all that the consequencies of FGM is no respecter of age. Infact it becomes more dangerous when done to an adult woman.
In my years of activism i have constructed schools and offered scholarships to uncircumcised girls and women to further their education. Engage parents to attend adult literacy classes and give economic support to communities. I strongly believe that education is the most sustainable way to change. And our campaign is change for the next generation. Our communities need enough information. Politicians, Paramount Chiefs, religious leaders, parents and everyone needs to stand and discuss about FGM.“It is clear that nobody is calling for an end to Bondo. UN has called on all states where FGM is practices to put a ban. FGM is practices in 28 African Countries in Africa. What anti FGM activists are soing to draw the attention of government to its obligations at intwrnational level. Yes, international level. No Country lives in isolation, Sierra Leone is part of the global village.
The government of Sierra Leone has signed many conventions and protocols including the convention on the Elimination of all forms of violence against women. The maputu protocol which was ratified in parliament with reservation on FGM.
In my personal opinion Sierra Leone should not pass a law on FGM whether it is underage initiation or not because we will continue to SHAME our Country at International level. As I write a lot of of underage initiatuin is going around the Country from Bombali where Fatmata lost her life, Tonkolili, Freetown and other places. Are we going to jail all those women and initiators? The answer is NO. Hell NO. So why push something that we kbow will not be implemented.
Those who support the continuation of FGM always want to compare FGM to the male secrete societies.
We are always referred to talk about the poro and other men secret societies. How many deaths have we heard from the poro, Ojeh, Gbagbani, WUdeh and others? I have not heard of any death in any male secret society.
I am advicing all genuine politician should begin to device ways of gaining the confidence of our electorates and not use FGM to contiune to supress women.
As a Country we must stop using the practice for political gains, take action to reduce the number of the secrete bushes where FGM is practiced, women members must develop languages for initiates for verifications purposes. Once we are able to address these two issue for a start. Don't ban underage initiation ban FGM and allow BONDO to continue.
Traditions are made by men to suit their time. It is men and women who will again stand and cha ge those traditions that are not helpful to our society.I want to call on all anti FGM acrivist to continue to remain focus. Change does not come easily. It has a price, let us pay the price for the benefit of our women and girls. And the betterment of our Country.
© Rugiatu Neneh Turay
Saturday 20th August 2016.
The Agenda For Prosperity under Pillar 8, makes it very clear that no Law will be enacted in Sierra Leone against an adult woman seeking to be circumcised. Rather, the law will be against circumcision before the age of consent (18years). Instead of working within the government to state her case, Hon. Madam Rugiatu Neneh Turay is forgetting she is a Deputy Minister of Government. Instead she is openly challenging the Government she is a part of - and doing it with brazen cheek out there to the international world when she unequivocally states that Politics is the reason why a government she is a part of, is allowing Bondo women to be circumcised in her country. May God continue to guide President Ernest Koroma in the midst of appointees like this lady. Ameen.
Please quietly join me from wherever you might be to say a prayer for Divine guidance of President Koroma.
Ameen & Amen.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.