Umukhukha condemns Bagisu people involved in early Imbalu festivities

Bugisu MPs protest minister Mutuuzo 'Imbalu' comments
Young men participating in the Bagisu traditional circumcision ceremony popularly known as Imbalu in Mbale - Uganda. Courtesy Photo.

Mbale, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Jude Mike Mudoma, Umukhukha III, the esteemed cultural leader of the Bamasaaba, has voiced strong opposition to the ongoing practice of (Imbalu) circumcision rituals before the official launch scheduled for August.

Expressing his concerns during the Umukhukha III Cup, Bugisu’s inter-county tournament held at the Mbale City Stadium on Sunday 7, January 2024, he emphasized the need to preserve the sanctity of the Kadodi cultural festival.

In response to reports of groups causing unrest by drumming through towns, Umukhukha urged the youth to refrain from engaging in circumcision activities at this time. Instead, he encouraged them to focus on economic endeavors that contribute to the overall development of the Bamasaba community.

Highlighting the significance of the upcoming circumcision year, Umukhukha emphasized the importance of waiting until August for the official launch and subsequent ceremonies in December. He sternly condemned parents practicing circumcision prematurely, underscoring the potential negative impact on the cultural traditions.

Imbalu ceremonies attracts a lot of people

Bugisu’s circumcision ritual, observed every even year, symbolizes the transition of boys into manhood. Local surgeons, known as ‘Bashebi,’ perform the ritual. The Imbalu tradition officially kicks off in August at the Mutoto Cultural Center, encompassing all 26 clans of the Bamasaaba.

Also Read: Bugisu MPs protest minister Mutuuzo ‘Imbalu’ comments

The inaugural Umukhukha III Cup witnessed triumphs for Mbale City teams, with the Northern Division County emerging as football champions after a tense penalty shootout against Bubulo East County. In netball, the Industrial Division County secured the title by defeating Bungokho Central County in a closely contested final.

During the event’s conclusion, Umukhukha Jude Mike Mudoma presented awards to the victorious teams. Notable figures present included Bubulo East MP John Musila, Lydia Wanyoto (NRM National Women League chairperson), Herbert Mukekwa (Secretary General of Inzu Ya Masaaba), and Rita Namuwenge (National Coordinator for the Presidential Initiative on Job and Wealth Creation – Emyooga).