By Samuel Ben Turay from Maseka village
The newly elected Section Chief of Konika Sanda Chiefdom in the Tonkolili District has called on both the local and central governments to empower chiefs with the “requisite tools for them to stop teenage pregnancy and early child marriage”.
Chief Pa Kapr Shira Sesay was speaking to our reporter last weekend in Maseka village. He said teenage pregnancy and early child marriage have spiralled out of proportion in his community, but “if we are empowered we will enforce by-laws that will put a stop to all of these”.
He blamed the phenomenon on illiteracy, lack of information, poverty and the fact that some parents connive with rich elderly men to condemn their children into early marriage. He also condemned parents who compromise with men who sexually abuse young teenage girls.
The section chief revealed that by-laws enunciated by the community to protect girls from predator boys and men are not obeyed and respected because of the diminishing status of traditional rulers.
Teenage pregnancy and early child marriage are rampant in the district, according to Mustapha Sherman Kakpa, Station Manager of Voice of Konike Radio 89.4 FM in Makali, who also hosts the popular talk-show ‘My Area’, an interactive programme where callers call and report issues affecting them in the district.