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“I will mobilise Political support to end Harmful Traditional Practices,” says First Lady of Ghana Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo

1 December 2017
First Lady of Ghana in a group photo with participants
First Lady of Ghana in a group photo with participants

First Lady of the Republic of Ghana, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo said she would mobilise for political support to end harmful traditional practices. She was speaking as the Guest of Honour at the opening of a High level Ministerial meeting on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) as part of the Campaign on Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality in Africa (CARMMA) commemorative week in Accra, Ghana, on the 15 of November 2017.

Laws alone cannot change deeply held attitudes regarding FGMs and proposed that education and awareness creation on the consequences of this horrific practice must be intensified using all channels including churches, mosque and community outreach programmes. She made these remarks after listening to the ordeal of two FGM victims.

In a testimony, Ms. Angela Sei from Sawla in the Northern Region said she was mutilated when she was ten years old and the pain was horrible. She said little did she know that there was another pain that will be attributed to the mutilation in adulthood. The second pain came when she was in labour to give birth at a health post. After several attempts by the nurse which was unsuccessful, she was referred to the nearest hospital. There she was told that the scar of the FGM was too deep that she needed caesarean section for safe delivery and also to reduce the pain she was going through. Due to her experience, she vowed to speak against this terrible practice whenever she is given the opportunity.

In a second testimony, Ms Felicia Lonkpai also from Sawla, said she was mutilated when she was a baby and currently in adulthood, she has no feelings at all when she is touched. She is scared this will prevent her from marrying in the future and appealed to the perpetrators of this act to stop the horrific practice and allow girls and women to enjoy God’s gift of sexual feeling.

The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection Hon Otiko Djaba who was the host of the ministerial meeting said she will ensure that her ministry re visits all the harmful traditional practices including Child marriage, “trokosi” FGM to mention just a few.

Mr. Mabingue in his remarks said it was sad that Africa was still discussing FGM when all governments signed declarations and the children's charter years ago to protect the human rights and dignity of children and young people.