‘Sowies’ protest against FGM campaign
Societal Heads of the National Sowies Council in Bo District at the weekend organized a peaceful demonstration in Bo to protest against the ongoing campaign to abolish Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the country.
The demonstration started with a meeting at the Bo Coronation field with representatives from across the fifteen chiefdoms in the district.
Addressing the mammoth crowd, the Kakua Chiefdom societal head (Sowie), Sowies Lealeh Alice Konneh, who doubles as the district head of ‘Sowies’, accused some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) of provoking their cultural and traditional rights binding them together as women by campaigning for the abolishment of Female Genital Mutilation FGM in the country.
She stated in no uncertain terms that they would not accept it, while she vehemently condemned a specific radio programme that was hosted in one of the radio stations in Bo by some NGOs wherein one of the male panelists made a statement that is against the ‘Bondo’ society.
Bondo Society, she went on, is there to help them promote their culture and tradition, and also to prepare their children to become responsible women in society especially when they reach the age of maturity.
She acknowledged the instructions prohibiting them from initiating girls below 18 years or forcing anyone who has reached 18 years to be initiated, but however charged that they should leave them in peace as they continue to exercise their rights as women.
Sowie Lealeh Konneh said frustratingly that as women they have been marginalized given that there are many other male societies in the country such as the Poro, Orjeh, Wonde, Hunting and Soko which they are paying attention to. “Our peaceful demonstration is to call the attention of the authorities to the humiliation we are going through because of our society,” she stressed.
The National Secretary General of Societal Heads, Sowie Acid Kaday Zorokon, disclosed that they were called to a national meeting where they all agreed on certain polices which they are working on as an organization.
She affirmed that they have embarked on data collection to register all societal heads and Bondo houses nationwide, adding that they have already covered thirteen.
Sowie Acid Zorokon called on organizations defaming their cultural and traditional beliefs to desist from it or they would take to the street.
The demonstration continued with a peaceful protest along the principal streets of Bo with leafs in their heads as the symbol of their cultural and traditional rights.
By Hassan Juana Koroma
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