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CSO coalition denies ‘bribing’ NAMs to vote against FGM bill

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By Omar Bah

A coalition of civil society organisations campaigning against a bill seeking to repeal FGM law in The Gambia has denied allegations that they have bribed some National Assembly Members to vote against it.

The bill is currently with the Joint Committee of Health and Gender for consultation and consideration before a final vote. The committee has since received position papers from several organisations, both pro and against FGM, and is now set to extend its consultations beyond Gambia’s borders.

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However, the current and sudden consultative trip to Egypt of more than 30 NAMs on the FGM has raised ey brows as to who is behind such a huge venture.

The Standard was reliably informed that an official of the National Enterprise Development Initiative was spotted at the National Assembly reportedly to drop some cash for the selected deputies who are currently in Egypt.

“I can reliably inform you that on Friday at around 3:30 p.m., a lady who drove in a National Enterprise Development Institute (NEDI) official vehicle entered the office of the clerk with a bag containing dollars and left a few minutes later without the bag,” the source said.

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When contacted for comments, the NEDI Executive Director, Lisa who was the one allegedly spotted at the Assembly, declined to comment and referred our reporter to the national coordinator of the Network Against Gender-Based Violence.

A few minutes later, a Gambian women’s rights activist and anti-FGM campaigner, Jaha Dukureh, texted: “Just to clarify, Lisa was at the National Assembly to pay per diems to some of the people that are travelling to Egypt for the study tour that we are leading. Also, we did buy air tickets for 24 members of the delegation, which means we are one of the leading partners. I am not sure where you are getting your information from, but these are the facts.”

The Standard contacted the national coordinator of the Network Against Gender-Based Violence, Fallu Sowe, but he was unreachable.

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