Thousands of people Saturday thronged Mutoto Cultural Ground in Industrial City Division of Mbale City for the official launch of the Imbalu (circumcision) ceremony in Bugisu sub-region.

The cultural circumcision rites are held every even year and Saturday’s ceremony is the first since Uganda went into Covid19 lockdown in 2020.

This year’s ceremony has proceeded without a universallu accepted cultural leader “Umukuka” who is supposed to preside over the rites.

This follows the succession disputes bedeviling the Masaba cultural institution since the demise of the last leader Bob Saul Mushkor who passed away last year.

The mbalu, a cultural celebration for the people of Bugisu region comprising Mbale, Manafwa, Bulambuli, Sironko and Bududa districts and Mbale City plus those from Bungoma and Transnzoia in Kenya was launched by the former Umukuka Wilson Wamimbi.

Godwin Mubuya, the chairperson of Bamasaba Imbalu inauguration committee 2022 said the turn up is overwhelming.

He said that the ceremony comes at a time when the Bamaasaba are divided and hoped that this will be a uniting and development factor for the people of Masaaba land.

Sarah Maswere Wasake, the General Secretary of Bamasaba Imbalu Organizing committee 2022, said five boys from Mutoto clan were selected to be circumcised on the day.

“Our boys are ready to be circumcised today and each will get a cow and a kit after circumcision,” she said, adding that over 6000 boys are expected to be initiated into manhood this year.

Moses Kutoi, the Chairperson of Imbalu in Inzu Ya Masaaba said that the festival went on well as planned after all the candidates were circumcised. He said that after the official launch, the circumcision will now spread to other districts to have the boys initiated into manhood.

Stephen Mugweri, the Secretary for Finance on the Imbalu Organising Committee said that the Bamasaaba missed out on the 2020 ceremony due to Covid-19, so they were eager to celebrate this year’s ceremony. He said that circumcision teaches the young people to face challenges and know how to handle them.

Sam Bulafu, who came from Buwalasi in Sironko district said even if the function went on well, the absence of a cultural leader has cost them as the Bamasaaba. He wondered why the leaders don’t unite to get a cultural leader to unify them as people from Bugisu.

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