Earlier, each faction had indicated to the Minister through writing that it would take charge of the ceremonies. But Gender Minister Betty Amongi said that the correspondences called for government intervention to harmonize the matter until the courts pronounce themselves on the issues that were taken before them about the same issues.
The communities under the cultural boundaries of Inzu ya Masaaba; the cultural institution of the Bamasaaba, have resolved to hold this year's circumcision ceremonies without a cultural leader.
This came after attempts to have a legitimate leader to succeed the late Bob Mushikori all hit a snag. Mushikori, culturally titled Uwelukoosi Umukuuka We Ba’Masaaba, died last year and since then, the cultural institution never elected a successor to perform cultural ceremonies as the head of the institution.
Among the ceremonies which are supposed to be presided over by the Umukuuka is the cultural circumcision ritual, locally known as imbalu which takes place every even year among communities in Bugisu. The ceremonies are scheduled to kick off in August at Mutoto Cultural grounds in Mbale.
The ceremonies are usually presided over by the sitting Umukuuka who blesses the candidates and performs other spiritual functions as
the head of the institution. However, this year the rituals will go on without a cultural head as the institution struggles to deal with two factions that emerged after the death of Bob Mushikori.
The factions include one headed by Jude
Mike Mudoma and the other led by Amram Wagabyalire each claiming to be the
legitimate group to take over the leadership of Inzu ya Masaaba. But none of the two faction leaders has been gazetted by the central government resulting in a leadership vacuum for the cultural institution.
Earlier, each faction had indicated to the Minister through
writing that it would take charge of the ceremonies. But Gender Minister Betty Amongi said that the correspondences called for government intervention to harmonize the matter until the courts pronounce themselves on the issues that were taken before them about the same issues.
//Cue in; “We wanted to…
Cue out…the imbalu function.”//
Now, Clan heads, District Chairpersons and other area leaders have resolved to proceed with the cultural functions on the calendar and to
constitute a committee that will proceed with the circumcision festivities
without a cultural leader. This was one of the resolutions of a meeting convened by the Minister of Gender Labour and Social Development at the Mbale City Hall on Friday.
A 22-member steering committee headed
by the Manafwa District Chairperson Hosea Kigai Kimono has been constituted to take charge of the process. The commitee comprises three members from each of the
three clans that make up Inzu Ya Masaaba, a female and youth representative,
and three members from the Mutoto clan which will host the ceremonies at the Mutoto Cultural Grounds among others.
These will be tasked with the duty of developing a work plan and budget as well as organizing the Imbalu function this year. Kimono said the selected committee will start planning meetings on Monday, to ensure
the success of the imbalu festival come August.
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Dominic Gidudu, the State Minister for the Elderly and Richard Wanda, the Member of Parliament
representing Bungokho Central urged the warring factions to end the impasse for the good of the
people of Bugisu putting emphasis on ensuring the success of imbalu
//Cue in; “We have really…
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Mbale City Mayor Kassim Namugali called
for unity among the Bamasaaba and to develop a common agenda for Bugisu.
//Cue in; “Kasita kuba nga…
Cue out…on this meeting.”//
Ahmed Juma Masaba, one of the clan leaders in Inzu Ya
Masaaba said the disorganization in the cultural institution is being caused by
wrong people who do not know the norms and practices of the Bamasaaba. He welcomed
the committee that has been put in place saying that this will help to steer
the cultural functions of imbalu.
//Cue in; “Kubanga cultures za…
Cue out…kuba emikolo minene”//
The cultural institution of Bamasaaba living at the slopes of Mt.
Elgon in Eastern Uganda and
Western Kenya covers the districts of Mbale, Sironko, Manafwa,
Bududa, Bulambuli and Namisindwa in Uganda and Bungoma and Trans Nzoia