Nyando residents turn to donkeys over cattle rustling menace
Cattle rustling in the volatile Nyando sugar belt has often been linked to perennial ethnic flare-ups that have seen many people killed or displaced from their homes and houses torched.
The communities living in the Kisumu – Nandi and Kisumu – Kericho borders have always pointed accusing fingers at each other over the ethnic clashes.
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The clashes are likely to become a thing of the past as residents are slowly adapting a different lifestyle.
In Sondu, Nyakach Constituency, nearly every homestead had a cow or two a few years ago. However, the narrative is slowly changing with families opting for a maximum of one cow to keep away the rustlers, but gradually turning to donkey rearing.
The donkeys, the residents say, are safer to rear and are more beneficial.
Naomi Nasimiyu Otieno, a mother of three and a resident of Sondu, says that she bought her first donkey at a cost of Ksh 3,000 in 2006 and learnt from her friend on how to take care of the beast of burden.
Since then, her life changed. She makes between Ksh 800 and 1,000 daily by using the donkey to transport products and is not wary of cattle rustlers.
A few kilometers from her home, Mzee Vincent Ongoro Auma, a former Gor Mahia player, opted to keep donkeys after suffering huge losses in the matatu business.
A proud donkey farmer, Auma says he discovered donkeys were more energetic compared to bulls and, therefore, has been using them on his farms and neighbours farms as well as transporting goods.
Apart from the cash he makes, Auma says he derives his physical strength from donkey milk, which he says is medicinal and has played a critical role in helping him live happily with his three wives.
He adds that donkeys are easy to manage and treat whenever they fall ill.