By. Jerromie S. Walters
Camp Johnson Road, Monrovia, Liberia: The Head of the Traditional Council of Liberia, Chief Zanzan Karwor, has mandated the closure of all sande bushes across the country, as part of adherence to the three-year ban signed by traditional leaders in Bong County, and to ensure that no one is left out of the ongoing national population and housing census process.
Addressing a news conference on Monday, December 12, 2022, at the Headquarters of the Traditional Council of Liberia on Camp Johnson Road, Chief Zanzan Karwor also announced the commencement of a major exercise by a Taskforce to ensure the closure of the various bushes.
He said that the Council has set up a special Taskforce to make sure that all of the traditional bushes are closed, that people who have been asked to help with the census can get in, and that the three-year ban is followed.
“Based upon the paper that you people signed in Gbarnga for the three-year ban, we are ready to implement it.” “Second, we’re in the middle of a census, and we want the children to be counted. That’s why I’m here to tell you that the bushes will have to be closed today,” he said.
Recognizing international donors’ commitment toward ending FGM in Liberia, Chief Zanzan Karwor said a lot has been done, and as such, traditional people should exercise their responsibility and uniqueness by their promise and commitment to ban the practice for 3 years and ensure that it is adhered to.
“I have my Taskforce ready to go beginning Wednesday to ensure that we don’t have sande bush in Montserrado county, because that’s what they agreed on, so we the Chiefs and Elders have prepared paper for our Taskforce to visit all of the villages to close the bushes. “He added.
He talked about how important the census was and said that it was in the best interest of all Liberians because it shows the status of the country and gives investors a better idea of how to distribute large investments or grants based on the population rate.
Chief Zanzan Karwor also said that the Taskforce is made up of people from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, and other important government workers.
In February of this year, the National Council of Chiefs and Elders of Liberia and the government of Liberia banned FGM for three years, from 2022 to 2025. However, in the last few months, there have been reports of girls being forced to join the Sande society, where FGM is still done, against their will.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. It is practiced in eleven (11) out of the fifteen (15) counties in Liberia, and Chief Zanzan Karwor believes it is now time that they hold on to the positive aspect of the Liberian tradition and let go of the negative aspect.
At the same time, he called on officials of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) to consider the need to exercise peace as they prepare for their upcoming December 17, 2022, “We Tayah Suffering” protest.
He described the endeavor as a laudable one but cautioned Executive members and supporters of the Collaborating Political Parties (CPP) to recognize the need to avoid a repeat of the dark side of Liberia’s history.
“I would like to appeal to those who will be protesting on the 17th to please be peaceful because we do not want any forms of violence. “Take your petition statement to the necessary people it should be taken to, and do it peacefully,” he urged.
On December 17, 2022, scores of Liberians are expected to stage a major protest, calling on the government’s attention to the different issues that are affecting the country and people in general.