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550 initiates feted in Kisii, courtesy of MCAs

There was pomp and colour at Nyabisia grounds in Masige West Ward, Bobasi Constituency, after 550 initiates from two neighbouring wards were treated to a party, courtesy of the area Members of County Assembly.

Thousands of residents converged to celebrate the rite of passage for their children, most of them aged below 14 years, drawn from Masige West and Masige East wards.

Various entertainment groups made their presentations to the ecstatic crowd, some of whom clad traditional regalia and carried ancient items like Enyongo (pot), Ekerandi (gourd), Egetabo (calabash), and traditional stools.

The party was meant to welcome the initiates back home after about one month of seclusion, courtesy of Masige West MCA Jacob Bagaka and his Masige East counterpart Michael Motume.

Addressing the initiates during the event, Bagaka appealed to the two levels of government to come up with a policy that will ensure that male circumcision was offered free of charge in all health facilities.

Bagaka noted that many parents were finding it difficult to circumcise their children in medical facilities due to high charges.

Calling for concerted effort in the upbringing of children, a local village elder, James Osoro, decried the rising cases of drug abuse among children.

Osoro applauded the local leaders for uniting to assist the initiates in all their activities leading to the celebrations.

However, the village elder noted that the circumcision of very young children was eroding the Abagusii culture because the majority of the initiates still needed the tender care of their parents, unlike traditionally, where they became independent after initiation.

 “Some of these children are too young and must still be bathed by their mothers, which was not the case before,” said Osoro.

Another resident, Job Osoro, noted how fast traditions had changed, saying that previously only boys aged 14 to 18 underwent initiation because only then could they understand some of the teachings and responsibilities. This included taking care of parents and their own property, providing security to the local community, safeguarding community taboos, and learning how to care for their families.

“Currently, we even initiate youngsters below the age of 10, but of course for health purposes, because it is said they heal very fast,” said Osoro.

However, he applauded the local leaders for uniting and assisting the group, saying it was easier to give them the teachings as a group, especially on customs and good morals.

On the other hand, Esther Moraa took advantage of the event to lead other women in preaching against female genital mutilation, saying circumcision was only beneficial to the male gender.

Moraa exhibited what she termed as old-fashioned paraphernalia used during the female circumcision, saying it was no longer useful in society.

She urged circumcisers who still performed the rite secretly to disown the retrogressive practice.

The anti-FGM crusader urged young girls to desist from being lured into submitting to those with intentions of destroying their biological make-up.

By Jane Naitore

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