MPs from the Bugisu Parliament caucus have attacked State Minister for Gender, Peace Mutuuzo, over her recent indelicate remarks on the Imbalu culture.
The angry MPs who hail from the Elgon region said the minister has crossed her line, demanding that she must apologize before the Bamasaba cultural leader Umukhuuka Wilson Wamimbi and the Bamasaba community.
'Imbalu' brings together all Bamasaba people in the five districts of Mbale, Sironko, Bulambuli, Manafwa and Bududa. The minister has insulted our culture therefore she must apologize. She hails from the western part of Uganda, what does she knows about the Bagisu culture,” Wabwoya said.
Led by Manjiya County MP John Baptist Nambeshe, (himself a traditional Imbalu surgeon), Bulambuli district woman MP Sarah Wekomba Nambozo, Sironko woman MP Florence Mayoga Wamai and Budadiri East MP Vincent Wabwoya
“ If Mutuuzo fails to apologize to the Bamasaaba community, the Bagishu boys have volunteered to be circumcised before the minister’s office at the ministry of Gender in Kampala, to show their importance attached to our Imbalu culture,” Nambeshe said.
Mayoga emphasized that in Bugisu, a non circumcised man may not potentially satisfy a mugisu woman during copulation and that is why circumcision is emphasized.
“It is through Imbalu that one graduates from boyhood to manhood in Bugisu. It is also through Imbalu that one is fully accorded responsibilities in Bugisu society. A woman’s “true” identity is also defined by marrying a “real” man, one who is circumcised,”
The importance of circumcision in the Bagisu is deeply ingrained in the people. It is a coming of age custom where boys transition into manhood in Bugisu and are given responsibilities after braving the pain of the knife. It is a custom handed down from our ancestors.
Wabwoya said the President Yoweri Museveni Speaking as chief guest at the Imbalu inauguration ceremony at Mutoto cultural grounds emphasized the need for cultural leaders and the elite to critically examine cultural practices and see those to be retained and modernized.
Last week Mutuzo called for a ban on the practice of ‘Imbalu’ (the biennial circumcision ceremony) among the Bagisu/Bamasaba of eastern Uganda labeling it barbaric.
Mutuzo made the remarks while briefing the media at Uganda media centre ahead of celebrations to commemorate international day of family due May 15, 2017 with a theme “Strengthen the Family: Build a Nation”.
Mutuuzo said, there are hospitals, clinics and dispensaries that carry out safe male circumcision hence preventing the spread of HIV/AIDs instead of 'Imbalu' where one knife is used to cut many boys during the ceremony.
The people of Mbale should stop or reduce the dehumanizing the habits of circumcision which are invoking sexuality. The 'Imbalu' culture is really a backward one. It's important for men to circumcise but we would wish to encourage people to do it in a manner that gives dignity to those young men," she added.