Farmers Call For Intervention As Donkey Theft Re-Emerges In Mt. Elgon


By Isabella Maua

Donkey farmers from Cheptais in Mt. Elgon sub county are calling for intervention from the government and interested organizations to halt the re-emergence of donkey theft in the region.

Boniface Juma Chemiat from Kimaswa in Cheptais is a farmer who owns two donkeys. On February 14, 2024, he lost both of his donkeys.

He was lucky that one was found, but the other, named Tiger, is still missing. He is beseeching anyone who comes across his lovely beast of burden to report the matter to the nearest police station or any chief’s camp.

The donkeys, he says, have been of great help in earning him his daily bread, and since they were stolen, his cash flow has been jeopardized.

Sylvester Kirui from Kabero in Cheptais Sub County is also a farmer who has two donkeys to his name and cannot hide his satisfaction as he explains how they have transformed his life by helping the community with day-to-day activities before one was stolen recently.

“I can gladly say without fear of contradiction that, financially speaking, a donkey is worth more than a cow. My donkeys have been of great aid to my family because we have been transporting construction materials, animal feeds, timber, and farm produce at a fee, hence improving my family’s living standard,” reiterated Kirui.

He adds, “Donkey theft here in Cheptais has been rampant lately, and in most cases, after making an effort to look for them, we find them in Chepyuk or, at times, in the neighboring country, Uganda.”

Matthews Imo, Officer in Charge of the Anti-Stock Theft Department at Chemondi Police, echoed Kirui’s sentiments, highlighting that many donkeys are currently at risk of being stolen in the region, mostly because of the bulky work during this period.

“There is evidently a lot of work right now, from transporting farm produce to carrying water around, and given the topography of our region, donkeys remain the sole mode of transportation; those who don’t have any survive theft,” reported Imo.

The officer, however, sounded a stern warning to the culprits, assuring them that they would face the full force of the law once apprehended.

Even as donkey farmers stay hopeful that this vice will soon come to a halt, they put their hope in organizations that focus on donkey welfare, like the Ripple Effect and Brooke East Africa,which for many years have been fighting for the beasts of burden’s well-being and farmers’ satisfaction.

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