MONROVIA-Zoes in Montserrado County have threatened to continue the practice of cutting girls in spite of the three years ban on the practice by the national government and traditional council of Liberia.
Zoes across Liberia used Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as an alternative livelihood, something which had made 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 posted on the Sande Bush activities.”
Ma Massa shockingly says all these efforts by the government and partners to end FGM will not materialize until they considered 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 emphasized.
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.
“When they give us money, we will stop the practice that I can assure you because then I am able to go into the different brushes to talk to my women. Ma Massa furthered, “until that is done, we cannot be a part of this campaign to end FGM”, adding, “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 funding as the only means to go away from the FGM they are demanding to eradicate.
“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 said as she continues negotiation with the national 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.