Quote: If Charles Dickens’ Mr. Bumble had been transported from 19th century England to the town of Limuru in 21st century Kenya, he might not have stopped with stating that “The law is a ass — a idiot!” He might have gone on to alliteratively add while correcting his grammar that “the law is an ass’ arse!”
For those who came in late, the town council of Limuru, located some 50 km to the north-west ofKenya’s capitalNairobi, had decreed that donkey owners should put nappies on their animals with effect from July 16 to ensure that the streets were clean.
However, the council put its nappy plan on hold (pun intended!) in the face of vehement opposition from donkey owners and critical media coverage.
Limuru trader Simon Kamau, who uses donkeys to transport water to his clients, was quoted by the BBC News as saying, “in all the three years I have been in this business, I have never tied a nappy on a donkey. The problem is that the donkey can give you a fatal kick. I was once kicked by a donkey and it broke my leg. What the council should do is come to us traders and show us how to tie nappies on the donkeys.”
Another donkey owner was quoted as saying, “if we have to put nappies on our donkeys, soon they will say our cows need them to!”
However, even while donkey owners like Kimani and residents like John Kinyanjui say the council would be better advised to employ more sweepers to clear up the mess, Limuru mayor James Kuria seemed determined to go ahead with the nappy plan.
Noting that he had heard that in some areas owners were putting nappies on donkeys, Kuria announced in true bureaucratic style that “we will go to these areas and see how they do it and come back and show our people how to do it. We want the people to earn a living but, at the same time, we must keep our town clean.”
What will they think of next? Putting socks on octopuses!
Suddenly, I thought of this story today when I saw our colony littered with donkeys’ s***t .
A donkey owner was loading rubble from a house under construction and dumping it at a nearby pit. He had around 6 donkeys and the poor animals looked tired and hungry after a hard days tough work. While doing the job the donkeys had “dirtied” the lane. The owner of the house told the donkey owner to clean the lane in front of the house at least. But he refused to do so. A long altercation followed…I walked away thinking how such problems could be solved. Immediately the above news item came to my mind. The suggested solution of tying nappies seems good but is not possible to implement as it will add to the poor donkey owners’ costs. Even otherwise, the poor owner hardly earns enough to feed himself and his 6 donkeys in these days ! So lets leave it at that …!
Dear Readers, if you have any comments, views and suggestions on this matter, do send them in .
By the way, I had written a letter to the editor then. I now reproduce it here for you to read and reflect:
“Dear Sir, your article was just hilarious. We need to take a cue from Limuru and make attempts to similarly ask our municipalities to take up the issue, of our city streets being littered with such mess daily, with the owners of animals like cows, bulls, donkeys, horses, dogs etc, if they don’t have funds to employ additional sweepers.( even those presently on rolls aren’t seen turning up ). Incidentally, like ” Gobar Gas Plants” such mess can be profitably be used for generating power, provided our municipal bosses have that much power to implement such suggestions. At the best, they may set up a committee to look into this matter. Sir, keep up the hilarity in our otherwise mundane lives ! Give us more !!”