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Drama as 22 donkeys abandoned in city centre

By Cyrus Ombati | Dec 12th 2014 | 3 min read

Kenya: The monotonous plodding sound of 22 terrified beasts of burden aptly branded tumechoka (we are tired) rudely interrupted the flow of motorists and pedestrian traffic in the city centre on Thursday.

The donkeys alighted from a truck outside I&M Building, which houses the Standard Group's town office, on Thursday morning to the consternation of residents.

The unfolding morning drama appeared to be part of a stunt by a group of  activists out to raise awareness about growing insecurity in the country.

But it also created confusion and caught city workers, police and county askaris flat-footed.

Long accustomed to arresting motorists and directing traffic, police and county askaris found themselves directing a different breed of chaotic traffic – donkeys.

The driver behind the wheel of truck told police he had been hired by a man and asked to deliver the animals to the city centre.

He did not say if he had been given a specific address.

But he sensed something was wrong when the man who had hired him allegedly jumped out of the truck, abandoning him in traffic.

He told police: "I panicked and jumped out of the lorry."


The police were able to trace him later. Some of the donkeys had physical injuries.

Six of the beasts were pushed out of the lorry and left to 'window shop' along Muindi Mbingu Street.

More than 20 others were abandoned along Moi Avenue and strolled together, perhaps amazed at their first visit to the city.

Motorists driving into the city stared in disbelief at the herd of donkeys plodding in confusion through the city streets.

It seemed like a scene reminiscent of Limuru town, yet this was Kenya's capital city.

Eventually, a team of police and county government officials gathered and strategised on how to deal with the unusual situation.

They were able to summon their best negotiation skills and drive the donkeys towards Central Police Station.

"We are tired of this leadership," shouted one activist earlier as he pushed the donkeys out of the lorry.

The donkeys were meant to send a message that Kenyans are tired of the rising cost of living and insecurity, one of the activists behind the incident told The Standard.

Deploying the donkeys into the streets was symbolic as some of the Opposition figures had been using the animal figuratively to declare that Kenyans were tired of the burden of paying taxes with no or little services.

Activist Boniface Mwangi has been leading a push with the slogan Tumechoka over insecurity.

Last month, he led a protest to press for action from the Government over rising insecurity that paralysed some of the city streets.

The group operating under the Occupy Harambee Avenue slogan had camped outside the street that houses the office of the President and police headquarters since 10am until 4.30pm when anti-riot police arrived and dispersed them.

The group had arrived with dozens of crosses painted red before four coffins were delivered there as they demanded action.

Yesterday, police announced they were looking for those behind the stunt.

Opposition leaders have demanded the overhaul of security agencies, saying they are responsible for rising cases of insecurity across the country.

They named the Kapedo attacks in which 25 police officers died, the Mpeketoni one where more than 100 Kenyans were slain, Westgate terror attack in which more than 70 people were killed and the Mandera killings of 64 people, among others.



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