…..-Zoes React To Call To Ban The Practice
By: R. Joyclyn Wea
MONROVIA-Zoes in Montserrado county have threatened to continue the practice of cutting girls private part despite the three years ban on the practice by the government and traditional council of Liberia.
Zoes across Liberia use Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as an alternative livelihood, something which has to make it almost impossible to achieve the needed success in the fight to end the practice in Liberia.
Massa Kandakai is the Chief Zoe of Montserrado. She says; “Only paying Zoes regularly will put stop to the Female genital mutilation or hold the moratorium imposed on the Sande Bush activities.”
Ma Massa shockingly said all these efforts by the government and partners to end FGM will not materialize until they consider payment of Zoes saying “Sande schools are not only traditional, but have economic benefits which they are surviving on.”
“I have two hundred proper Zoes in Montserrado alone, with about 2000 across the country, how do they expect us to live when the Government is not living by their promises to us?” Ma Massa asked.
Zoes, she said are awarded resources at the end of every initiation, something they rely on to sustain their families; hence, the practice cannot be stopped without a proper negotiation.
“I can assure you, we will stop the practice when they give us money because then, I am able to go into the different bushes to talk to my women. Ma Massa furthered; “until that is done, we cannot be a part of this campaign to end FGM. Because even the people asking us to stop tradition too have a tradition, we cannot just go to them and tell them to stop it without negotiating with them.”
She called on the Government with her International partners to provide more findings as the only means to go away from the FGM .
“Our Culture is very rich, it teaches girls of becoming mature, Women to take their responsibilities and manage their families properly, but the act of Female genital mutilation is harmful and causes serious problems in many life including stigmatization,” Jaha Dukureh, Regional UN Women Ambassador Jaha Dukureh said it recently during her visit to Liberia. She said she will continue negotiation with the government, traditional leaders and stakeholders to end the practice.
Besides, the FGM component, the African culture has a lot of other pillars that are beneficial to womanhood.
“The Harmful part of the traditional practices is posting health hazards and stigmatizing many African Women across the globe,” Jaha recommends.