The women’s Sande Society that operates throughout
West Africa ‘is evil’ and a danger to peace and stability, Montserrado County Superintendent Grace has told visiting members of the UN Security Council, while soliciting financial or other forms of assistance to eradicate it.
In briefing members of the Council on the path to peace and stability in Liberia, Mrs. Kpan, once President of the National Port Authority’s Dock Workers Union who unsuccessfully contested the Montserrado senatorial seat in 2010, said the Sande, also known as Female Genital Mutilation (FMB) by its western opponents, represents a danger to peace, and that re-‘rehabilitation’ camps have already been established for its practitioners.
Her revelations of secret abolishment plan defy the official position of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who told this paper in an interview that her Government’s objective is not to abolish the society, but to allow girls enroll in formal schools, and that this would mean shifting schedules.
During the 2005 presidential campaigns, traditional women were told that electing President Sirleaf would be an end to their society because she had secret plans to abolish it. The candidate at the time denied the allegations and assured traditional women she had no plans of tampering with their traditions.
Mrs. Kpan said UNMIL field office constructed a temporary structure for the women who practiced FGM to begin training the younger ones to have better skills to use their hands instead of doing FGM.
“So, the women you see here today were practicing FGM, but today they are no longer practicing it because of the help from UNMIL,” she told the UN delegation.
She thanked UNMIL, saying: “We think if this can be extended throughout the length and breadth of the county (Montserrado) and even of Liberia, it will help most of over young women and young girls.”
She told the UN Ambassadors there were 251 ghettos and 59 prostitution centers here and claimed “most of the victims in those centers are people who left the Zoe bushes are victims of FGM.”
Mrs. Kpan: “If Liberia must advance and go forward, we think our people need to be educated...we do not want the younger ones to be brought forth into this practice.”
She appealed to the Security Council for assistance, saying, “This is another way of keeping peace as well”.
She revealed that she and the Ministry of Internal Affairs have closed down most of the bushes while “trying to educate the people that the time has come…it is a new world and anew era…people cannot continue these practices.”