Pushing ahead with the circumcision ceremony is a dance with death

Circumcisers at the cleansing ceremony

It looks the dye is cast for the Bukusu, Banyala, Batura, Tachoni communities that with or without COVID-19, they intend to carry out their traditional circumcision of their adolescent boys that started on 1st August 2020.

The lack of a united approach in these communities on whether or not to postpone the circumcision rite for this year is a perfect mirror of the lack of cohesion, common perception of what advances the common good of the region that is raging in our political space. It is clear that on any crucial issue and question even of life and death the region cannot reach a consensus and it is hopelessly divided depending on parochial self interest to the question, the issue.

As things now stand it is for the circumcising communities and more so, those members who are adamant to carry it out in the traditional way to cross their fingers, yes as they tempt fate that nothing untoward will come to pass. Yes we are all proud of our cultures and even the traditional circumcision ritual but these are not normal times. These are abnormal times and the evidence is right in front of us from across the world that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing havoc, killing people regardless of economic, political, social status. We are as a region not special. We have survived, we have this far been spared the rout, pillage of COVID-19 by the Grace of God. But we cannot tempt fate too far and too long. It is bound to reciprocate with rage, without mercy.

The intrinsic nature of a traditional circumcision in our region is that it involves the exact opposite of the Ministry of Health Guidelines on preventingCOVID-19 spread. The ritual entails close contact as participants sing, dance, let go and with the boy going to face the knife at the centre of the drama. Alcohol is supposed to flow ceaselessly and it is a state hysteria, utmost freedom in yelling,spitting, getting carried away into utopia, nirvana land.

How then doesone reconcile the very nature of the traditional circumcision exercise with maintaining the COVID-19 prevention protocols of “keeping social distance, washing your hands with soap and running water”, “wearing a mask” “covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing”? Itis not possible. It is opposite

The elected leaders of the region will stand 100% guilty as charged if the traditional circumcision rites that ought to have been postponed go on and bring the region to grief, deaths due to the wild spread of COVID-19 triggered by the exercise. The County Commissioner and his administration team and the National Police cannot by any stretch of imagination police the whole region on cultural issues.

Parents with school going children stand guard against your children immersing themselves in the circumcision adventure. For we can see even more teenage pregnancies and those same children may bring COVID-19 to your homes.

These are challenging times and we must as a region take seriously the mortal threat COVID-19 poses. We need to preserve ourselves as individuals, families, communities. It is not the Government’s business to do so, but it is our first order of business. COVID-19 is real, it’s here in our villages, our towns. It kills. Safeguard yourself.