NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 30 – Nairobi County government officials took away five donkeys believed to have been brought to town and chained on Kenyatta Avenue by civil society activists on Monday morning.
The donkeys were painted all over their bodies, with words protesting the state of official corruption in Kenya. They were chained on metal grills along the key avenue.
“Corruption bleeding Kenya dry,” were the words painted in red on a forlorn donkey that had been chained on the legs and onto a grill.
Another beast of burden painted nude to look like a pig had the words: “MPIGS raping our women, prosecute them” in apparent reference to allegations of sexual harassment leveled against some Members of Parliament in recent days.
Activist Boniface Mwangi – who has previously led demonstrators carrying pigs near Parliament – posted photos of a night operation where masked men are seen painting the donkeys.
The photos on Mwangi’s Facebook page were accompanied by the caption: “Let the donkeys speak. Fact: Most medication and beauty products humans use are tested on animals before declared safe for human use/consumption (sic). The self righteous people claiming this is animal cruelty should be more specific. How exactly is this animal cruelty? Everyday humans consume animals and animal byproducts in the name of food. It’s time we focus on the key issues the artistes wanted addressed and not silly sideshows.”
He added a disclaimer:
“The person who shared this images with me tells me that 1) a vet was involved in the entire process and 2) The paint used doesn’t contain lead or other chemicals that are harmful to animals.”
The donkey protest comes as pressure mounts on elected leaders to put themselves on the line after they were mentioned in a confidential dossier on officials who are under investigation by the Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission (EACC). The dossier was handed to President Uhuru Kenyatta who tabled it in Parliament on Thursday.
Five Cabinet Secretaries stepped down from their jobs over the weekend to allow the EACC conduct proper investigations on them. This was in reaction to a directive by the president. Other officials to step aside include heads of some government parastatals.
The full list is expected to be presented before Parliament on Tuesday when the president’s dossier is formally presented before the House for debate.