Butaleja MP-elect Cleansed to Take Cerinah Nebanda's Mantle

3632 Views Butaleja, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
Elders in the Nebanda family on Tuesday performed a cleansing ceremony to initiate Florence Andiru Nebanda, the Butaleja Woman MP-elect, before she takes up her late sister Cerinah Nebanda’s mantle.

Elders in the Nebanda family on Tuesday performed a cleansing ceremony to initiate Florence Andiru Nebanda, the Butaleja Woman MP-elect, before she takes up her late sister Cerinah Nebanda’s mantle.
Dressed smartly in her yellow flowered gomesi, the woman MP-elect Florence Andiru Nebanda was led by a group of elders accompanied by her supporters into a traditional dance to the grave of her late sister Cerinah Nebanda, which lies adjacent to the main house at their ancestral home in Butungu cell.
Together with the elders and her supporters, Andiru danced on the grave of her late sister Nebanda to the rhythm of the beating drums for about 20 minutes as they sing the ritual song. She knelt and kissed the grave three times as a sign of love for her late sister before she was led to the main house with the same dance. She danced in the sitting room for another 20 minutes.
Shortly after that, Andiru was led to a place where they sacrificed two goats. As the ceremony requires, she was given a little fresh blood from the slaughtered goats in which she drunk as a sign of acceptance that she is ready to accept and carry on her late sister’s mantle.
Part of the goat was roasted and taken and placed on the grave for about 30 minutes before it was removed and given to Andiru to eat. This, according to Jonathan Nasunga, an elder of the area, was to appease the spirit of late Cerinah and ask the spirit to give her sister Andiru the blessing and power to carry her mantle.
He explained to Uganda Radio Network that blood of the first two sacrificed goats are supposed to be boiled and only eaten by the elders in the family while other parts of the goats are cooked and given to other people including the family members.
The ceremony is thereafter followed by more ritual dances and feasting including drinking of Malwa throughout the night.  However, later in the night a chicken and a goat is slaughtered and only roasted and eaten only by the cousins and nephews of the family.
In Bunyole from where Andiru’s mother Alice Nanulwa hails, the traditional ritual is always conducted for new couples in the family, the heir of the family and visiting nephews and cousins to the family among others.
Called in Lunyole “ohumusendanho” literally meaning giving someone a blessing, the ceremony is performed to ask the spirits of the dead elders and heir of that family to welcome and give blessings to the candidate to which the ceremony is being performed for.
Peter Haumba, an elder in the family, says the ceremony was conducted to cleanse Andiru before she assumes the late Cerinah Nebanda's mantle as the heir of the family and parliamentary roles in representing the people of Butaleja effectively as late Cerinah represented them.
He said the ritual was also to ask Cerinah’s spirit to embrace and bless Andiru as the new heir of the family and guide her in her parliamentary roles and responsibilities.
Haumba said if the ceremony is not conducted, the spirit of Cerinah might disturb Andiru especially at night and while travelling causing unnecessary accidents and ruining  performance as a member of parliament, the position she took from her late sister following her sudden death in December last year.
Throughout her campaigns, Andiru told voters that she wanted to continue from where her late sister left off and finish all her incomplete projects.
Andiru registered a landslide victory in the Monday’s by-election beating four of her rivals to become the new Butaleja Woman Member of Parliament, a position her late sister served for only about 10 months before her sudden death on 14th December.


About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.