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    Monday, 10 September 2018

    Gov withdraws support for Chilonga circumcision


    CHIREDZI – Some 150 boys attending a one-month long circumcision camp at Chilonga in Chiredzi are at the risk of contracting diseases after the Ministry of Health and Child Care and critical NGOs withdrew their traditional support to the processes because the event has not been sanctioned by Headman Chilonga.
    The Mirror has established that circumcision at the camp is being done in the elementary and traditional way as there are no health officers and nurses to run the program.
    Chiredzi District Administrator Lovemore Chisema told The Mirror in an interview that the circumcision camp is illegal because it was not approved by either Headman Chilonga or his office. He said the Ministry of Health and several other NGOs that used to participate at the camp have not done so this year.
    One of the major NGOs involved in the support of circumcision programmes is PSI.
    The Mirror has since established that the fall-out is a result of the in-fights between the people of Chilonga who are trying to undermine their headman John Chilonga. A splinter group has since established its own circumcision camp at Chilonga that is not supported by the headman and Government because of the fight.
    Another camp, in Masivamele which has the blessings of Chief Sengwe is running at the same time and it has over 300 initiates. This camp is being supported by the Ministry of Health.
    Tiyani Chilonga who is one of the organizers of Chilonga Camp dismissed the Government position that his camp is illegal. He argued that the circumcision camps were for traditional rites that did not need approval from Government.
    He accused Government of trying to interfere in traditional leadership issues since the current headman John Chilonga`s term lapsed some months ago. 
    Chiredzi District medical officer, Dr Brian Dhlandhlara confirmed that the Ministry was not supporting the camp at Chilonga. He said instead Government was actively involved in the circumcision that was taking place at Masivamele where processes were going on according to standards.
    Chisema said authorities will sit down and map a way forward against the Chilonga Camp. He said in as much as authorities are eager to see donor organisations assisting circumcision camps it should however be in tandem with traditional leadership and cultural values. 
    "The circumcision camp at Chilonga is illegal since it was not authorised by both the current Headman Chilonga and our office. The Ministry of Health and all other relevant donor organisations are also not involved in it. Private organisations should go through the traditional leadership and in this case Headman Chilonga did not authorize the formation of the camp and we should respect his decision and those who ignored his advice should answer for their actions" said Chisema.

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