Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on Tuesday evening directed the state minister for gender and culture, Peace Mutuuzo, to present a statement on the alleged proposal to ban Imbalu – a traditional circumcision ritual among the Bagisu.
The directive followed complaints by legislators from Bugisu under their Bugisu Parliamentary Caucus calling for an apology and withdrawal of the state minister’s statement against the Imbalu cultural practice.
Mutuuzo, while addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Center last week, was quoted stating that Imbalu is a barbaric practice, which dehumanizes the practice of circumcision and also encourages sexual activity among minors.
Mutuuzo, who was speaking ahead of International Family Day on May 15th 2017, asserted that instead of using crude methods of circumcision where traditional surgeons use one instrument to cut the boys, it would be advisable for them to instead do it at hospitals where safe male circumcision services are provided.
However her revelations did not go down well with sections of the public, including legislators from Bugisu sub region.
The Bugisu Parliamentary Group on May 16, 2017 called a press conference, where they rebuked the minister for what they termed as attempts to ban their cultural practices and vowed to fight it.
Vincent Wobwoya, Budadiri East MP, said the Imbalu is a deeply entrenched tradition among them, which cannot be wished away by a minister who has no idea of their cultural norms.
During the afternoon plenary sitting, Sironko Woman Member of Parliament, Florence Nambozo raised the matter, questioning the minister’s audacity to
“The circumcision practice she wants to ban is the same one through which we were born,” an angry Nambozo told the House.
In response, Kadaga informed the House that she had heard media reports about the matter but asked that the minister provides a statement to the MPs to clarify the matter.
Mutuuzo described the Imbalu culture as an old fashioned practice which dehumanises circumcision and also encourages sexual activity among adolescents.
The furious MPs led by the Sironko Woman MP Florence Namboozo said that the minister’s statement that the culture encourages young people to engage in early sex had caused damage to the Bamasaaba community.
Namboozo described the minister’s comments as an insult to the Bamasaaba culture which they cherish a lot.
John Baptist Nambeshe, the Manjiya County MP also noted how the minister’s statement disregarded the rights of Bagisu.