Kenya’s Murang’a county has set aside Sh17 million (USD 170,000) to chase monkeys that have allegedly been terrorizing residents.
The governor has paid for adverts in a local vernacular station asking youth to turn up to chase the monkeys.
The story has elicited an online discussion on why Governor Mwangi wa Iria has decided to take those measures – rather than seek help from Kenya Wildlife Service.
But interestingly, he has received support from some of the locals.
“Monkeys can be a nuisance. I know because in my growing up years in the village, they were a menace to our crops. As children, we had one or two of us manning the farms during the day, every day from day one that the crops were planted,” says George Kimando in a Facebook post. “Sundays were even worse, because as the rest wore their ‘Sunday Best’ to Church, some of you had to forego the Mass and stay behind in the farms. And it didn’t matter if it was rainy or sunny; you had to be there every single day.”
Another one, Irungu Goko says that “anyone who has lived in the village or has interest in farming will know that it takes 6 months to one year before one pockets some cash from farming. If monkeys destroy your maize, one is looking at a whole year without an income despite spending on the crop.”
Wa Iria’s plan for monkey chasing is as follows:
16th to 19th Feb at Gatanga constituency
20th to 29th Feb at Maragua constituency.
3rd to 6th March at Kigumo constituency.
8th to 11th march at Kahuro sub County.
17th to 21st at Kangema and Mathioya.
21st to 24th at Kandara constituency.
Last years, residents of Kinyona ward in Kigumo district called on Kenya Wildlife Service rangers to chase away monkeys that have been destroying their crops.
In a petition tabled at the Murang’a County Assembly, hundreds of residents from Gatumbi and Gachocho villages in Kigumo district demanded compensation.
Kinyona ward representative Charles Kirigwi said residents had suffered for years and risk starvation as their food crops are uprooted.
“The farmers have been left at the mercy of the famine relief food as the crops they manage to salvage rots in four days,” Kirigwi said.
He said residents guard their banana plants remains to save them from been destroyed by the monkeys. “The residents harvested nothing last year and this year the same destruction has occurred,” the ward representative said.