Sierra Leone social welfare minister Blyden in Geneva with Anti-childFGM Sowei 

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 September 2016

President Koroma welcomes Sylvia Blyden

Sierra Leone’s minister of social welfare, gender and children’s affairs – Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, is flying out of Sierra Leone today Sunday, 11th September, 2016, leading a delegation of nine government officials, along with the secretary general of the National Sowei Council. (Photo: Social welfare minister Blyden receiving a vote of confidence from president Koroma).

They are attending the 73rd Session of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, taking place in Geneva, Switzerland. Top of the agenda is the hotly debated issue of female circumcision.

Dr. Blyden has remained focused and unruffled in the face of fierce criticisms of her position on female circumcision, corruption and poor management in the civil service.

But admirers and supporters of the minister say that she is winning hearts and minds over her unique style of leading her embattled ministry.

The minister will also be travelling to Geneva with 15 year old Hussein Muckson Sesay, who is currently the Secretary General of the Children’s Forum Network, to talk about the experiences of young people growing up in Sierra Leone. (Photo: From left – Mr. Jalloh the CFN Facilitator at MSWGCA, Madam Aminata the mother of Hussain, HUSSEIN MUCKSON SESAY, Hon. Minister Blyden and Chaperone Abdul Malik Bangura).

The government of Sierra Leone with the support of the overwhelming majority of people in the country, is strongly resisting the imposition of a blanket ban on female circumcision by the international community, led by the UN.

The presence of the secretary general of Sierra Leone’s National Sowei Council (NSC) – Madam Kharday Zorokong, will be crucial at the Geneva conference, where it is hoped that the international community will redefine its policy towards female circumcision and ensure that, the right of matured adults to do whatever they want with their bodies is respected.

Although Madam Kharday Zorokong who is well known for her female activism is leading the campaign against the outright banning of female circumcision, she is however, against girl child initiation.

Bondo3She has made this clear at a recent national radio broadcast in Sierra Leone, that although she is a practitioner of female genital cutting, members of the NSC to which she belong, do not support the initiation of anyone below the age of 18 years.

A key strategy of the government is the mobilisation of Soweis across the country to stand at the forefront of the government’s push to reduce and eliminate initiation of young girls. The Soweis are being led by a pioneering leadership involving Yaa Koloneh, Elsie Kongolomoh and Kharday Zorokong.

Madam Zorokong’s trip to Geneva is expected to be funded by one of Sierra Leone’s international partners.

The government of Sierra Leone is hoping that this strong partnership between the ministry of social welfare and children’s affairs and the country’s female circumcision practitioners, will help reduce the harmful effects of a cultural practice that is strongly held by over 80% of the population in Sierra Leone.

Supporters of Dr. Sylvia Blyden say that; ‘given that FGM is so topical, it is most welcomed that someone who is passionate about protecting children from being initiated is on the government’s delegation to the UN in Geneva’.

The Sierra Leone delegation heading for Geneva for this important confab will include senior officials from the Justice ministry, Health, and Foreign Affairs, led by the minister of Social Welfare, Gender, & Children’s Affairs – Dr. Sylvia Blyden.

The editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph asked minister Blyden what she hopes to achieve at the Geneva conference. The is what she said: “The past three years, since we submitted our Combined 3rd, 4th and 5th Periodic Reports on welfare and state of our children, have been a very tough time for Sierra Leone.

“Everything we knew and held dear got practically broken or brought to a standstill, as we combated an enemy worse than the 11 years old war. Under the great leadership of His Excellency President Koroma, we have put the war against Ebola behind us.

“However, the devastation Ebola left behind has continued to affect our people, including our children. For example, we now have a huge number of Ebola Orphans and Child Ebola Survivors, which remain to be a very significant challenge of our vision to protect all our children.

“Indeed, given what we promised in our Combined Report that Ebola could not allow us to implement, Sierra Leone would have preferred to defer appearing at this session until the country finished the ongoing post Ebola recovery priorities of the President.

“However, on the other hand, we do see this global scrutiny appearance, as a further chance to showcase our other successes, despite the huge challenges. It is also a chance to publicly acknowledge where we need help from the World. President Koroma is passionate about the rights of children; and actions of his government reflect that in so many ways.

“I am hopeful that the delegation I am going with today into Geneva, backed up by the Team on the ground, can effectively make our case to the United Nations and the wider international community that Child Rights remains a priority in Sierra Leone, and that we need the continued assistance of the International Community to help us achieve our programmes to protect our children.

“Children matter in Sierra Leone. That is why a child is included as a part of my delegation.”

8 Comments

  1. Moustache you continue to expose your religious bigotry and depravity. As much as I disagree with some of the things that Fuambai says, she does not deserve these insults from anyone, let alone from someone who claims to be a man of God.

    You are nothing but a bigot enmeshed in damn right crudity. Insulting others and invoking what you see as the wrath of God against your adversaries is wrong, yet you call yourself a man of God. You really have no moral compass.

  2. Santhkie Sorie,

    I’m NOT like Prophet Elijah that nonsense Jezebel could threaten and let him run for his life. NO WAY AND NOT ME. For greater is He that’s in my life than your messy satanic Bondo Devil in the world with FGM.

    If you ever knew what happened to Dagon, the ‘national god’ of the Philistines who are today called the Islamic Palestinians with temples at Ashdod and elsewhere in Gaza, then you’ll be quiet and hold your peace.

    For semi-literate and clitoriless Fuambai Sia Ahmadu et al will be heavily pulverized to fine powder and blown out to smitterings beyond belief. You hypocrite! Amen.

  3. Mustache,

    Again you have shot off at tangents and missing the points that I make completely.

    Fuambai or any woman can have as many sexual partners as she wishes. My point is most young girls in Sierra Leone do not know how to prevent pregnancy before marriage, especially in the interior. Therefore Bondo serves as a barrier to premarital sex and unwanted babies, who may be abandoned.

    Fuambai Amadu is well educated and most certainly can look after herself – thank you very much. Nobody pushed her into Bondo, she made the decision herself. Her action addresses my point in all its spheres, to highlight the fact that she fulfilled a cultural practice, thereby maintaining her identity, despite her level of education and exposure to Western ways. I applaud her.

    You have the potential to be the best propagandist in the world, even above Pravda – the Soviet Union’s mouthpiece newspaper. Can you let us know the dates the victims of Bondo died? What is the real name of Pa Alhaji in Makeni? Remember, Alhaji is not a name, it is a title. It is like calling you Pa PhD. Come on Mustache, I may be stupid, but I am not mentally retarded.

    If Bondo has nothing to do with Western civilisation why was sowei Kharday Zorongo having trouble entering Britain recently from Geneva, with all their proclamation of individual freedom.

    The strength of Bondo has not even started yet. It will end when Western women end plastic surgery of all kinds, which occasionally result in death or physical dismemberment.

    I eagerly await your response. We are not even half way through the first round of the bout yet. I am busy softening you up for Fuambai Amadu’s final blow. When it lands, you won’t know where you are.

  4. Santhkie Sorie,

    Yes, you can call me Pastor or Man of God at anytime. I stand for His word in TRUTH and uncompromisingly. I have no ill feelings for anyone regarding devilish Bondo practices in Sierra Leone. All I’m doing is to let everyone know the whole TRUTH about this illegal traditional and cultural practice that has unnecessarily claimed the lives of many Sierra Leonean girls and women.

    When you asked the following question:

    “Now then Mustache, casting aside all I have said, can you also discern a big advantage of Bondo which prohibits girls from ‘premarital sex,’ which leads to unwanted pregnancies and hence unwanted babies?”

    I have no option, but to let you know what happened to a Muslim family in Makeni in the late 1980s. This family had two girls initiated into Bondo. Unfortunately, one of them was found to have had premarital sexual affairs. Her father, Pa Alhaji, was not pleased with the report and had her abandoned for life.

    If that’s the case, then why for God sake are you supporting SHAMELESS Fuambai Sia Ahmadu who had multiple sexual affairs before she was anesthetized and clitorially cut? Is’t because she is an African-American citizen and has a PhD? Or what?

    By the way, the campaign to permanently ban Bondo has got absolutely nothing to do with western civilization, but about safety, health and life. Amen.

  5. Pastor Mustache,

    Thank you for invoking Christian scriptures all the time to support your argument against Bondo – principally stating that the practice is satanic, without putting forth any historical argument as to how the practice originated, which made our ancestors to conclude that Bondo should be commenced.

    If you just take the time to analyse a great benefit of Bondo, your mind’s eye will see forthwith that apart from the act itself, girls learn many things while they are in the bush, including the curing of many ailments. My late mother was a great beneficiary of this, particularly where infants were concerned.

    All I know is that one of the procedures involved going to the cemetery at dawn, without speaking to no one, and picking up something [my pastor would call this satanic although infants were cured].

    On a more direct note I was born with a terrible case of asthma, which forced my parents to have many sleepless nights. One fateful morning [Icannot recall how old I was] my mother, whose knowledge did not extend to curing asthma, used her passable Mende to speak to this trim, elderly woman, who smoked a pipe about my condition. I distinctly remember her coming over to take a look at me;.

    She held my right hand briefly and said to my mother that on her way to fish the next morning she would bring something for me. And she did. The asthma could not run out of my body fast enough. To this day I have not lost a single breath. Because of this, my mother constantly told me that Mende women were my women and that I should marry one when I grew up. I have not been lucky in this respect, but I have not given up.

    My mother subsequently told me that my elderly Mende woman had told her that she had learned all her skills in the Bondo bush.

    Now then Mustache, casting aside all I have said, can you also discern a big advantage of Bondo which prohibits girls from premarital sex, which leads to unwanted pregnancies and hence unwanted babies? As we move further away from who we are [thanks to foreign powers] the more intractable social problems we are facing.

    Had Bondo originated in the West it would not be called FGM. Rather the most endearingly colourful name would have been assigned to it.

    Homosexuality has taken hold in the West. It is called gay. If the practice had started in so-called sub-saharan Africa, only Allah/God knows what it would have been called. Ban ki Moon and his United Nations would have suddenly lost their power of speech.

    You triggered my fifth form world history Mustache. You mentioned liberty as a core value in the American Psyche. Well, my pastor this all I ask for mother Sierra Leone – liberty. It was actually Patrick Henry who said “give me liberty or give me death” during the American war of independence.

  6. Santhkie Sorie,

    I’m neither goofy nor myopic. My focus and vision for our country, Sierra Leone, is very much active, crucial and alive.

    The sooner she moves out of secret satanic societies, including Poro, Bondo, etc. the better for her to gigantically leap forward. Whether ungodly Sowei Khaday Zorokong and her colleague Digbas like it or not. Shame on them.

    For Your Information, it is not about identity crisis, but safety, healthy well-being and preservation of life.

    Lastly, I ask that you take a look at the core principles of the American government and arm yourself with some knowledge on: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. NOT DEATH. Take good care of yourself. Amen.

  7. Mustache

    You have a tendency to completely misunderstand me , while being borne by myopia , made worse by a sad absence of peripheral vision.

    I have never , implicitly or otherwise , contended that anybody who argues against Bondo is insulting. Please reread my piece carefully . What I wrote was that insults were being used over Bondo by certain people – just to make a point. The term “gborka ” [uninitiated ] has been flung around. You know , Mustache , that this term can cause unsustainable violence if uttered in certain parts of Sierra Leone.

    Now let me come to you directly Mustache in your own words :”I hope that Ms Sylvia Blyden has taught the unschooled Secretary General of so-called Sierra Leone’s National Sowei Council , Madam Kharday Zorogong, some eating utensil etiquette, i.e. how to eat with fork and knife by European way in Geneva Switzerland.

    Well how much more insulting can one get Mustache ? If Kharday Zorong is used to eating with her clean hands – what’s wrong with that ? Europeans travel to our part of the world but never abandoned their ways of doing things – what’s wrong with that ? The typical Arab eats with his/her hand – what’s wrong with that ?

    Mutual respect is what the world needs, and conflicts and wars will be a thing of the past Mustache. As poor and backward as mother Sierra Leone is , she should be left alone to plot her future.

    There has never been a debate on Bondo in our dear country Mustache, because until external powers started poking their nose into our culture , there was never any need for it. This should answer your question.

    I am fiercely nationalistic , and I get extremely angry when a non-Sierra Leonean makes a slightest attempt to control my nation from afar. Do you happen to know Mustache that the the fundamental reason the Americans rose against British was the desire to be left alone to plan their own future ? One of their Nationalists told the British to either give him liberty or give him death. It summarised his feeling.

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