Nzu Yamasaba officials have directed security in Mbale and Bugisu at large to arrest whoever will go practicing forceful circumcision on other tribes.
The directive was sounded recently by deputy prime minister and head of protocol Nzu Yamasaba Cultural Institution Mathias Nabutere in an interview with New Vision.
The directive comes after over five people have been forcefully circumcised in Mbale town since the beginning of the year.
The organised group of energetic youth targets mainly bodaboda riders and businessmen from other surrounding tribes that enter Mbale to carry out businesses.
The group that forces uncircumcised men into circumcision claim they are trying to keep Mbale clean.
“We have received information and also witnessed the youth forcefully circumcising people who are not Bagisu. These people have their own cultures and it is not good to see them forced into what does not belong to them,” Nabutere said.
“We have written to all security agencies so that all those people who practise forceful circumcision, including surgeons, are arrested and tried by law. We have not opened the circumcision period and we expect to commission it in August,” he added.
Nabutere said as a cultural institution, they will soon come up with the roadmap.
He also warned the public against a group of people that is conniving with Bagisu youth to organise Kadodi processions while soliciting money on behalf of the candidate.
Nabutere emphasised that soliciting for funds should be done among relatives of the candidate and not any other tribes, adding that other tribes can only give money out of their will.
“We have alerted the Police on the issue of forced circumcision and soon the Umukukha will openly announce new measures through media,” he said.
“The institution is not responsible for the groups that have started forcing people into circumcision,” Nabutere added.
“We know this is a year for circumcision, but we follow the calendar of initiation. We have also received information that boys from other tribes that intend to marry Bagisu girls are willingly asking to be circumcised, which is wrong because we have not announced officially,” he added.
In 2016 and 2018, scores of non-Bamasaba were attacked by a group of people who claimed to be Bamasaba and forcefully circumcised them, while others looted their property, causing a security threat in town.
This was reported in Mbale town and surrounding districts. Business was interrupted as some of the uncircumcised men and boys shunned entering town.
“We came to realise that some of the people that were forcing others into circumcision were not Bamasaba,” John Wepukhulu, a resident of Mbale town, said.
He said forceful circumcision can result into loss of lives because it is done in fear. One may end up cutting the person the wrong way or exposing them to HIV.
“We have trained surgeons who exercise standard operating procedures and nobody is supposed to carry out circumcision without a certificate,” Wepukhulu noted.
He also said circumcision is healthy, but it should be voluntary. He discouraged surgeons against participating in forceful circumcision, saying such people risk having their certificates revoked.
Nabutere also noted that the institution was working with other stakeholders, including the health ministry to ensure the calendar is out.
Fred Masaba, one of the surgeons, also discouraged the people from carrying out forceful circumcision, adding that it is against the rules of rituals.
“Recognised surgeons should follow orders from the institution. We, therefore, warn quack surgeons not to carry out circumcision because they risk being arrested,” he said.
Sam Okoboi, a resident of Kachumbala in Bukedea district who does business in Mbale town, also condemned the act, saying it can ruin the relationship between Bamasaba and other tribes.
“It is unfortunate that after being forced into circumcision, one is abandoned and yet they have families to look after,” he said.
The Elgon sub-region Police spokesperson, Robert Tukei, said they were waiting for the Bamasaba Cultural Institution to lodge a formal complaint in order for them to take action and arrest the perpetuators.