BY KALYA TEAM

In his epistle to the Galatians, the apostle Paul in his letter (Gal 5:6) shocked the early church by declaring that “For in Christ, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision availeth anything but faith which worketh by love!” This declaration had been occasioned by falsehoods and seditious teachings that had crept into the church through certain factions that emphasized a puritanian approach to salvation. Paul, seeing that this approach would cause anarchy in the entire gentile world, sought to straighten things out. Indeed, this teaching has been the foundation of the doctrine of salvation by faith throughout Christendom.

This declaration by a leading evangelist and apostle of all time must strike a familiar chord in the heart of former choir master and latter day Kalenjin spokesman William Rutto. At a function to commemorate 106 years since the passing on of veteran Kalenjin freedom fighter and nationalist Koitalel Samoei in Nandi County recently, the Eldoret North MP made it abundantly clear that no uncircumcised man would occupy Kenya’s statehouse! This was a radical departure from the teachings of the church for the former altar boy whose supporters would not spare a moment in portraying as a god fearing patriot and nationalist. How he arrived at this conclusion should be the subject of anybody’s inquiry.

The circumcision debate has dominated numerous public fora since the world was created. And the fact that Adam, the father of all humanity remained uncircumcised throughout his life and was created in the very image of God should teach us something! For those who value circumcision, the penile version of it has been a great cause of pride and brinkmanship as they seek to portray those who undergo other versions of it as lesser men or lesser beings. What a distortion! For us, the relationship between circumcision and development is of greater importance, hence this issue of our bulletin.

It is without doubt that the Kalenjin second rite of passage or circumcision is very elaborate and involving. It is known for its colour and splendor and the prestige that the initiates acquire as they transit from boyhood to manhood. With the passage of time however, and the adoption of formal education, religion and other forms of western civilization, certain aspects of this important institution have been substituted, modified or dropped entirely. It is no longer possible to know if modern graduates of this school are fully baked in the sense that other than penile circumcision, they also
undergo the circumcision of the heart, the mind and the mouth! The whole essence of circumcision, for it to make sense, must result in mental maturity and positive transformation of our youth. Without this, penile circumcision is nothing but a mere surgical operation.

It is therefore absolutely absurd to hear people seeking leadership more so on a national scale talk about circumcision as if it were a matter of life and death!  If the apostle Paul taught the early Christians most of whom saw and touched the son of God that circumcision or lack of it adds no value to anyone, who are these latter day zealots to try and portray fellow men as lesser beings? We can only conclude that those who make the subject of circumcision an important part of their campaigns are themselves not fully circumcised. They still have to work on their hearts, minds and mouths. It is also worth reminding them that if we had such leaders as have undergone the circumcision of the heart, the mind and the mouth, we would not have destroyed our infrastructure and economy the way we did during the Post Election Violence. As a result, we would not be enduring a lasting shame on an international scale as we do now!

Those who value penile circumcision like the Eldoret North MP have a tough duty to demonstrate that they cherish our diversity and culture as the cumulative expression of our civilization. They have a tough job at hand in demonstrating to Kenyans that they themselves and the regions they represent have achieved a very enviable degree of civilization and development as a result of circumcision!

The development of our nation and our communities will not be anchored on which leaders are men enough because they have been circumcised. It will not be anchored on shouting matches as demonstrated by those who remain uncircumcised in their hearts, minds and mouths. Anyone who doesn’t value our diversity or accord respect to our different cultures has no business aspiring for our national leadership. This is a symptom of immaturity and such elements cannot be trusted to steer our great country to greater stability and development. How can someone boast of circumcision when the regions they represent account for some of the most shocking statistics on illiteracy in the country? How can someone boast of circumcision when they are to blame for driving their communities to senseless tension and violence with other communities every election time? How can someone boast of circumcision when the roads in their regions are worse than maize farms? If these are the fruits of circumcision, then it is better to stay without it. After all, as the bible puts it, it adds no value to anyone!

As young people, we will not be dragged into useless debates like the one on circumcision because circumcision has no impact whatsoever on development. It is simply a rite of passage as dictated by culture. KALYA will marshal support for those leaders who value our cultures and diversity as the cornerstone of our national unity. We shall seek to replace those leaders who remain uncircumcised in their minds, hearts and mouths as a way of weeding out corrupt and old fashioned way of life for a better country where everyone contributes without discrimination to national development.