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Leaders want bull from activist over 'cut' remarks

RIFT VALLEY
By Rael Jelimo | January 19th 2015
Centre for Human Rights and Democracy CEO Ken Wafula. Nandi MCAs have accused the lobbyist of making uninformed remarks on circumcision as done by the community. [Photo: Peter Ochieng/Standard]

Leaders in Nandi County are demanding a bull from an Eldoret-based human rights activist they accuse of making remarks on the community's circumcision rite.

Members of the county assembly (MCAs) expressed fury at utterances made by Ken Wafula who had previously suggested that the rite be used to identify the body found dumped in River Yala previously said to be International Criminal Court witness Meshack Yebei's.

Speaking in Kapsabet town, the leaders have also demanded an apology and called on the elders' council (Nandi Kaburwo) to initiate disciplinary action against Mr Wafula.

The activist is on record saying that Nandis, unlike other communities, had a distinct way of circumcision that could be used to determine if the body belonged to Meshack Yebei, and not Yusuf Hussein.

"It is preposterous for Ken Wafula to claim to understand the working of our Kalenjin rite. His utterance is a clear infringement and abuse of our culture. We are calling on the council of elders to immediately initiate disciplinary action against the human rights activist," said Tinderet Ward MCA Kipkirui Chepkwony.

Guarded secret

The MCAs said the rite was a 'closely guarded secret among initiates' and called on Wafula to issue a clear explanation to Nandi elders on how he came to be privy to it.

But Wafula claimed the method of using 'the unique circumcision rite' to identify a body was a tried and tested one, and added that using the rite to identify Yebei's body would not be the first time.

"Five years ago, a Kalenjin friend of mine was in a plane crash in South Africa where his body was charred beyond recognition. The unique Kalenjin rite was used to identify his body in that instance, it is tried and tested," he claimed. In a phone interview with The Standard, Wafula termed the MCAs' fury as unnecessary theatrics.

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