With two weeks remaining to circumcision season in the Bukusu and Tachoni calendar, an NGO has been criticised for initiating some boys without their parents’ consent.
The NGO has been told to return the foreskin of the 19 boys they picked and circumcised at a subcounty hospital.
In Bukusu culture, the boys undergoing circumcision, whether in hospital or traditionally, are supposed to be accompanied by their parents or a relative.
And when the boy is circumcised, the foreskin is wrapped, put in a container and given to the parent or relative to dispose in a safe place.
The NGO allegedly took the 19 pupils from school without anybody knowing apart from the head teacher. The NGO did not respond to requests for comment.
The parents now want to know who circumcised their sons, where the foreskins were deposited, the place where boys were initiated and why the NGO took them outside Bungoma county to an area which does not practice the culture.
two parents find out
The parents led by Sifuna Wamatala on Thursday said their efforts to know who circumcised the boys were futile as those who were brought to them by the head teacher were “brokers” who collected their sons from school.
“These people came to school with a form which required that the boys fill the names and telephone number of their parent and convinced the teacher to release boys aged between seven and 14 years to go for circumcision,” Wamatala said.
The parents said initially, the NGO wanted to go with 21 boys but two parents found out and intervened.
They want the boys’ foreskins or for the procedure to be “reversed” so they can circumcise them the way they want. Wamatala said two boys were not circumcised well and they needed to undergo an operation.
The parents threatened to sue the NGO if it does not comply with their demands.
Bungoma county chairman of circumcisers Sinino Omukolongolo said according to Bukusu culture, the NGO should pay each boy one cow, four cocks, traditional food which the boys will feed on until they heal and clothes.
He accused the NGO of not consulting local stakeholders before rounding up the boys to be circumcised. “The NGO never consulted anyone but the school head and this is against our culture and the school calendar,” Omukolongolo said.
Tuuti-Marakaru MCA Joseph Nyongesa, under whose ward the school falls, criticised the incident and urged NGOs to respect the culture of Bukusu community.
He said it was wrong for the NGO to collude with the head teacher and circumcise the boys without the consent of the parents and do it during school days.
“How can you circumcise boys when they have not done their end term exams?” Nyongesa said.
Head teacher Michael Odhiambo said he had been exonerated by senior personalities in charge of culture in the county and refused to give more information.
Bungoma county director of culture, Alice Wafula warned those carrying out the activity before the set time they risk arrest.