National Assembly of Gambia

Gibbi Mballow, national assembly member for Lower Fulladu, has told those campaigning for lifting of the ban on female circumcision that they cannot hide behind religion to inflict pain on women and girls.

Gambians are polarised over whether the ban on female circumcision should be kept or lifted after a lawmaker tabled a proposed bill that seeks to decriminalise the ban. 

However, the house health committee has recommended for the ban to be maintained for the health and wellbeing of women and girls in the country. 

In defence of the committee’s report, Mr Mballow, one of the staunchest advocates against FGM, said: “the women of this country deserve better and this report is here for that betterment. You cannot hide behind Islam and then want to inflict pain that’s having a gross negative aspect, and this report comes to tell you that shouldn’t happen in this country.

“Enough is enough, women of this country have suffered a lot. This report is informed by scientific and expert opinions. If you are telling us Western [values] … we know we love our people, we love our women and girl children and they need to be protected,” he added.

However, campaigners including renowned clerics who are against the ban on female circumcision have vowed serious consequences if the ban is kept.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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