Rite in limbo as herbalists, circumcisers fail to agree

Monday, July 20th, 2020 00:00 |
Bukusu circumcision ritual. Photo/PD/COURTESY

Yusuf Masibo

Differences have emerged between traditional herbalists and circumcisers as to whether the much-awaited circumcision ceremony for boys in Bukusu and Tachoni should proceed or not, owing to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

While the herbalists want the fete postponed to 2022 because of Covid-19, the circumcisers have insisted that the ceremony should continue and have already started warming up for the event.

Following the differences between the two groups, some parents have already started circumcising boys quietly in health facilities, a situation that the elders have not take lightly,

Dr Michael Misiko, a herbalist and  Luhya elder,  has blamed initiators who already conducting the rite, saying it was against the law. 

 “It is wrong to ignore the government’s directives in combating the spread of Covid-19.

During this fete, many people meet to sing, dance and drink local brew. The coming together in groups has been banned by the Ministry of Health as a measure to combat the spread of Coronavirus,’’ he said. 

Misiko has faulted the  initiators who are warming up for the event, arguing that they are only interested in making money  while disregarding the government directive. 

He noted that whenever there is a crisis during the circumcision year, the fete is often postponed to avoid losing lives and curses.

“Those who have already circumcised their boys have gone against the law,’’ he said, adding the best circumcision should be done in 2022.

Own beliefs 

However, the  circumcisers, led by  chairman Sinino Mukolongolo, maintain that they would circumcise the boys while still observing health regulations.

The circumcisers met recently and slaughtered a cow and several hens to curse the evil spirits.

They claimed the rite  was an assurance to cleansing their deeds  by appeasing the gods and that there would be no harm. 

Misiko has persisted that  circumcision is a rite of passage in traditional African communities that should be honoured.

He at the same time warned that nobody  impose their individual beliefs on others those who met, slaughtered a cow pretending to convince the community that there will be no harm to our boys when circumcised.

“Like in 1938 there was no circumcision fete that took place because there was war and many people lost lives traditionally its considered as a cursed year,’’ he said.

He lauded the government’s move to  put in place guidelines to help control the spread of the virus.

“I know that President Uhuru Kenyatta partially opened the economy. That doesn’t mean that he allowed us to carry out circumcision.

Please let us avoid this thing of hiding and putting  money first. Most initiators even do not know our culture,” he warned.

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