Secret Societies Banned

 

By Thomas S. Kembay

The Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has banned all secret societies in the country.

A release from the Minister of Local Government dated 21st January 2019, states that as a result of unsatisfactory reports of misuse of secret societies in certain parts of the country to the extent that certain individuals are using these societies to settle scores with political opponents. The Government has therefore, with immediate effect, banned initiations countrywide.

The release further gave a grace period of twenty four hours to initiations that had already been in progress.

Paramount Chiefs as custodian of local laws were reminded of their responsibilities in their respective administration to maintain laws and order.

Several humanitarian organizations, International and Local Non Governmental Organizations have hailed government’s decision to ban secret societies.

A local human rights based organization, Forum Against Harmful Practices (FAHP) has welcomed the ban citing the recent death of a 10-year old girl who died of excessive bleeding after forceful initiation into the Bondo Society in mid December, 2018 in Tonkolili District.

FAHP members have called for a permanent ban on all traditional practices that go against the right to life especially the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) which, they said, has caused the death of many over the years.