Business in Naivasha town came to a near standstill yesterday as hundreds of butchers demonstrated over suspected sale of donkey meat in the area. Carrying twigs and placards, the more than 500 butchers marched through the streets of the lakeside town demanding investigations into the matter that they said is hurting their business.
The agitated group invaded the Naivasha police station bringing crucial services to a halt. Naivasha Butchers Association chairman Peter Njogu said they were reacting to leaflets circulating in the two alleging that the butchers are behind the sale of donkey meat. “Since the slaughter of donkeys increased in Naivasha town, our sales have dropped by 50 per cent and we call for full investigations into the matter.”
''Customers were shying away from buying meat in the town yet no one has been arrested in connection with the donkey meat trade. Customers have been asking our members very difficult questions every time they are buying meat and I would like to assure them that the meat is safe,”said Njogu.
Njogu said it was evident that donkey meat though slaughtered in Naivasha was been taken to other towns including Nairobi. “We all know that this meat is consumed elsewhere and this blame gameshould stop as it is spoiling the name of this town’. The chairman Naivasha council of elders chairman Daniel Kigochi called on donkey owners to devise methods of protecting their animals as one way of curbing theft.
‘'Everybody takes care of his properties and if these donkeys help you, you should also find a way of keeping them safe''. Later the butchers and donkey owners held a meeting where it was agreed that both parties work together to end this donkey menace. Naivasha donkey owners chairman Joseph Thendu however distanced his group from the leaflets and called on the police to bring to book those behind it.
At the local police station, area OCPD Ernest Oponyo and OCS John Owuoth addressed the group and called for patience as they investigated the matter. Already a task force comprising of KWS, Public Health and the Veterinary departments with a mandate to investigate the slaughter and the sale of donkey meat has been formed.