Kenya: Annual Circumcision Rites Restricted Over Covid-19 Fears

Nairobi — The annual circumcision fete which usually takes place between April and December in various parts of Western Kenya will be restricted amid fears the accompanying cultural festivities could heighten the spread of coronavirus.

Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe Monday said the government had engaged cultural and traditional elders to postpone the circumcision events to later next year.

"Is it better to have a postponed initiation ceremony than have somebody to initiate or carry out an initiation ceremony and kill our young men."

"This is the debate that is going on, but I can tell you that it is actually prohibited to think of carrying out such an activity prior to the agreement with the ministry of health and perhaps protocols being developed," the Health CS declared.

Kagwe said the COVID-19 scourge had disrupted businesses and programmes and that should the interruption continue, the circumcision ceremony's organisers will have no choice but to postpone the events.

"You can not imagine the exposure to this disease that the young men across the country, would face if there was an issue with this matter. It is an issue, we have engaged with the elders from several communities such as the Kisii, Abaluhya and other communities," the Health CS stated.

The Bukusu sub-tribe of the Luhya Community usually holds outdoor ceremonies before and after the circumcision of their young men, which attract hundreds of community members in Bungoma and Trans-Nzoia Counties.

The Bukusu Council of Elders had vowed to go ahead with this year's circumcision ceremony setting the stage for a possible clash with the law enforcement agencies acting orders from Bungoma County Commissioner Abdi Hassan.

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