Tuesday, September 23, 2008


The Latest story in the politics of Kenya.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has launched a massive campaign to rally Luo men to face the knife as part of a strategy to fight HIV/Aids, with two ministers heeding his call. Finance Assistant minister Oburu Oginga and his Education counterpart Ayiecho Olweny said they would be circumcised next week to bolster the campaign.

The ministers were speaking at a health conference attended by the PM and medical researchers at the Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu on Monday. They said they had decided to face the knife to prove that it was no longer cultural, but a health issue.

"If this thing is good, then I am going for it," Prof Olweny told a cheering audience. Dr Oburu, Raila’s elder brother and MP for Bondo, followed suit and caused prolonged laughter when he urged other Luo men not to fear the knife. "I am going to be cut next week. I am assuring you I will go, no matter how painful it will be," Oburu said.

He added: "We cannot cling to repugnant traditions for years while our people die at an alarming rate of HIV/Aids-related diseases. It is wrong, we must change."