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Kenyatta to grace this year’s Imbalu fete

Kenyan President, H.E Uhuru Kenya is set to grace the Imballu inaugurationl in Uganda (FILE PHOTO)

KAMPALA – On August 11, Mutoto will become a place of sorts for multitudes of Bamasaba, not only from the Bugisu region, but also from western Kenya.

The Kenyan president Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is expected for the first time lead Bamasaba from Kenya [Bungoma, Trans-Nzoia and Bukusu] for the 2018 Imballu inaugural ceremony to be held August 2018 in Mutoto; a ceremony that kick starts the Imballu ceremony every even year.

What brings the Bamasaba and the Bukusu from western Kenya to Mutoto in Mbale is one thing — imbalu. According to local folklore, Mutoto is the place where the first imbalu (circumcision) ceremony was officially adopted.

All the subsequent imbalu opening ceremonies have taken place here in August ever since and many elders here confirm that indeed, Mutoto is the birthplace of the revered tradition.

The Bamasaba Cultural Council has set this year’s Imbalu traditional circumcision ceremony to start on August 11, at Mutoto cultural grounds.

According to the Bamasaba cultural leader for [Inzu Ya Masaba] Umukukha Bob Mushikori, the ceremony will be organised by the cultural union itself but with financial contributions from all districts that comprise Bugisu sub-region.

Umukukha Mushikori also said the cultural council has invited the president of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta to officiate at the function as chief guest and the president of Uganda Mr Yoweri Museveni and East African counterparts to grace the occasion.

A young man faces the ‘knife’ in an Imbalu procession in Eastern Uganda (FILE PHOTO)

“We invited the president of Kenya as the Chief Guest and the republic of Kenya asked us to move this function to August 11 and up to now we have not received any negative communication from them since we sent our letter of invitation,” said Umukukha Mushikori 17 August.

“So we strongly believe President Uhuru Kenyatta will be with us and other MPs who hail from Bukusu, Bungoma, Trans-Nzoia in Kenya and other well-wishers from Bugisu sub-region in Uganda,” said Mr Mushikori added.

He explained that Namisindwa district is the one hosting this year’s Imballu ceremony that is going to cost the districts of Namisindwa, Manafwa, Bududa, Mbale, Sironko, Bulambuli Shs 947, 700, 000.

Mr George William Wopuwa, the chairperson of the organising committee who doubles as the LCV chairman for Namisindwa district said August 11 there is going to be full observation of rituals on Imballu before it is taken over by original sub-counties in Bugisu sub-region.

He said Mutoto was also chosen by the elders as the place where imbalu festivities would officially be launched every even year in the eight month of the year.

Mr Godfrey Wepondi, the secretary General of Inzu Ya Masaba revealed that they intend to use the imbalu dance competitions at Mutoto and the kadodi drumbeat to raise the profile of the culture for tourism purposes.

“We are the height of the preparations for the Imballu festivities and I want to tell you that people of all sorts are already gearing up for Mutoto ahead of the launch on August 11,” said Mr Wepondi.

Where is Mutoto

Mutoto is located near Mbale town in Bungokho south, just in the eucalyptus forest at you head to Tororo or as you come from Tororo. Ends

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