(JollofNews) – President Yahya Jammeh of the Gambia Monday issued a presidential decree outlawing Female Genital Mutilation.
Mr Jammeh, 50, revealed in his yearly Meet the People’s Tour in his home village of Kanilai that since the Gambia was in the twenty-first century, practices such as FGM which involves removing part or all of a girl’s outer sexual organs have no place in modernity and should therefore be dispensed with.
The Gambia, one of Africa’s smallest countries, is predominantly Muslim but has a significant Christian community, and indigenous beliefs are also practiced.
According to President Jammeh clinging on to the vestiges of a dead past was not the best way to march his country into the future where FGM should have no place.
The declared ban is the most far-reaching position of the government on the controversial issue which had divided opinion on whether it was sanctioned by Islam, the predominant religion in The Gambia or motivated by rightful allegiance to a tradition belonging to a bygone age.
President Jammeh has ruled The Gambia with a firm hand since he came to power in a coup 20 years ago.
He has also implemented tough measures against the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. He has called gay people “vermin” and threatened to slit their throats.