The Livingstone Child Protection Committee has expressed concern over the high number of boys in the district that have been forced to join a traditional ceremony called the Mukanda.
The committee has lamented that boys between the ages of 10-15 have ended up in the Mukanda, a traditional ceremony practised by the Luvale people of North-western province.
Various Child Protection Committee members lamented during a meeting held in Livingstone today that boys are being forced to join the Mukanda even without the consent of their parents.
Olipa Manenga, an Assistant Social welfare officer revealed that her office has in the past weeks received several complaints from affected parents whose children have been withdrawn from society and confined into the Mukanda.
The boy child who is withdrawn from his parent’s home, is made to stay away from home for a period of six months.
Mrs. Manenga said efforts by her office to engage the authorities of the two Mukanda camps dotted in Livingstone over the need to withdraw non-Luvale boys have failed to yield any positive results.
Mrs. Manenga revealed that according to those behind the practice, it is an abomination and against Luvale etiquettes to withdraw any male that enters the Mukanda before the initiation day.
And the Victim Support Unit (VSU) in Livingstone and Kazungula district has also confirmed that the police in the area have received numerous complaints from parents who noticed the absence of their children from home.
VSU District Coordinator Akapelwa Nakaundu disclosed that in many instances, parents have reported their missing boys to the police, only to discover that they have been initiated into the Mukanda.
Ms. Nakaundu disclosed that following the complaints, the police in the district last week managed to withdraw a total of seven boys from the Mukanda camp.
Meanwhile, the committee has resolved to call for an urgent meeting with the authorities of the two Mukanda camps in Livingstone, to chat a way forward on issues that surround the recruitment of boys into undergoing the traditional ceremony.