Written by Leonard Wamalwa
Read 1879 Times
Information Minister, who is also the Kacheliba MP Samuel Poghisio dancing to a traditional song during the re-launch of the Pokot circumsicion season after decades of it being suspended. PHOTO |Leonard Wamalwa]
Pokot men living in North Pokot District along the border with Turkana and Uganda have resolved to go back to the male circumcision practice that they had stopped about six decades ago to what they termed lack of security.
Speaking during the re-launch of the practice at Konyao secondary school leaders from the area led by Information Minister Samwel Poghisio said that the elders from the community had chosen to call off male circumcision in the early 1950s after they suffered a big blow from their enemies including the Turkana and Uganda's Karamojong.
"The Pokot culturally circumcise their males, but the difficult was in these areas where pastoralism and cattle rustling is practiced especially here in Kacheliba. It came a time when the elders decided to shun massive circumcision after the Turkanas and Karamojong from Uganda who used to ambush the circumcised men while in the bush as they underwent healing hence killing all of them," said the minister.
He noted that the Karamojong and Turkana do not undergo circumcision and thus used the season of circumcision as the weak point of attack.
Poghisio noted that the security situation in the area has improved greatly and that is why the community has accepted to start practicing the culture which he also said shall be done in a modern way where the circumcised no longer go in the bush and stay there for months as they healed.
The new practice shall be conducted at all health centers within the area where males between ages of 15 and 49 years individually go to the health facilities at their own convenient times and go back to heal from their own houses unlike earlier on when they converged in one area and thus gave their enemies advantage to strike them when they are at the weakest.
It was revealed that in 1950 over 2000 males from the Pokot community including men and youths were killed by the Karamojong and later on a similar number was also attacked and killed by the Turkana and thus prompted the elders to shun the practice and concentrate on their security.
During the period it was only women who were undergoing the female genital mutilation - FGM with a few males who could go out of the area and undergo the cut at their own convenience and come back to the area after they have healed.
The minister who is also the Wiper Democratic Movement Chairman added that security personnel had been intensified along the borders of the area along the Uganda border and Turkana border hence making it difficult for the attackers to penetrate the area massively as they used to do in the previous year and also appreciated on technology whereby the use of mobile phones has been of great help to pass across information on looming attacks from neighboring enemies.
Pokot North District AIDS Control Coordinator Leonard Apatuleli said that over 60,000 males within the targeted ages of 15 to 49 are expected to undergo the cut during the exercise that is expected to run for at least one year.
Apatuleli said that the situation had aggravated the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the area which is now at 3% and therefore the new move shall help reduce the rate.
The exercise shall be conducted by the Nyanza based Impact Reasearch and Development Organization shall have the initiates be accorded freely all the necessary treatment and clothing provisions after undergoing the cut.
According to the organization's director Kawango Agot, the organization is doing similar activities in other parts such as Nyanza, Teso, Turkana and now Pokot North in a move to have the males in such areas that have not been practicing circumcision traditionally get a chance to be cut and reduce the chances of contracting HIV/AIDS virus by at least 60 per cent.
"We provide voluntary medical male circumcision to communities which do not traditionally get circumcised including the Luo, Teso, Turkana and now this part of the Pokot," she said.
She noted that the organization is well coordinated through all the stakeholders in the area including administrators, elders, ministry of health officers and among others.
Agot revealed that the group's funding body the Center for Disease control and prevention -CDC was approached by the area elders and officials from the ministry of health requesting for the introduction of the exercise in the area to have their males practice the same for various reasons as mentioned earlier.
Switch to Our Mobile Site