Why Female Donkeys Are Banned In Nanyuki For Over 50 Years


Female donkeys have been banned from Nanyuki town since 1964.

The ban follows an incident in the town in which an innocent farmer from Gathiuru village was transporting farm produce using his female donkey. Reportedly, ‘randy’ male donkeys were all over the jenny.

The frightened farmer, Benson Mutiti, watched helplessly as the asses chased his jennet all over the market, destroying property and a hotel.

The sexually-charged beasts brought business to a standstill and forced traders to close shop.

The male donkeys had reason to be excited.

Female donkeys had been banned by Nanyuki’s Urban Colonial Council 15 years earlier following protests by mzungu women.

The women were repelled by their mating habits whenever they went shopping at the Settler Stores, where a commercial bank now stands.

Speaking to The Nairobian, Mutiti recalled how the braying of his punda attracted the jacks. He blames the ensuing chaos on the council’s failure to inform the public of the 1949 ban on female donkeys.

Mzee Benson Mutiti

Mutiti who was the chair of donkey transport operators in Nanyuki between 1955 and 1997, said that after the chaos, he went to the administrator’s office and called for a total ban of female donkeys, which was imposed.

For his effort- protesting and reporting to the District Commissioner Mutiti was nicknamed ‘Ndithii” a corruption of ‘DC’ for District Commissioner.

Though no notices were pinned around town, news of the ban spread quickly and locals made aware of consequences of breaching the law.

“We did not want a repeat of the destruction we saw when the donkeys ran amok after sensing the presence of a female,” explains Mutiti who has since retired.

Wamai Murathimi, a former mayor of Nanyuki said the 1949 bylaw has never been repealed as the public never opposed it.

“Since I started living in Nanyuki town in 1960s, I have never seen a female donkey which is proof the locals adhered to the law.”

Peter Kariuki Karigwi who is one of the donkey cart operators in the town, says all male donkeys in the town should be castrated to allow for the reintroduction of jennets.

“We always ensure the donkeys are under close watch to maintain order,” said Kariuki.


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