BY BRENNA MATENDERE
GWERU residents have implored the local authority to come up with a by-law effectively banning the rearing of donkeys in the city following an upsurge in their numbers as they are used as draught power by firewood dealers.
Speaking at a feedback meeting held at Mkoba 10 hall by former mayor and ward 10 councillor Charles Chikozho, the residents said the donkeys were now a menace as their handlers have a tendency of letting them stray, thereby roaming into private properties and messing up the streets.
“The problem of donkeys, if left unchecked, will see the city’s suburbs becoming peri-urban villages. Right now, the problem has reached a stage where even some of our bus stops, like in Mkoba 5, are now known as Pamadhongi due to the high population of the beasts in the area. These animals are abused by people who travel to rural areas to ferry firewood so as to cash in on desperate residents affected by rolling power outages,” a resident Nomore Matarirano (48) said during the meeting.
Pardington Manyika (33), another Mkoba resident, said several donkeys die on the roadside and the owners do not remove the rotting carcasses, which pose a health hazard.
“If you walk on our roads, you see bodies of donkeys that are just decomposing, yet it is in the heart of the suburb where there are homes. The putrid smell is a cause for concern. We no longer live comfortably in our homes as we cannot afford to open windows no-matter how hot the weather could be,” another resident, Mercy Murisa (43) said.
Motorists also said the donkeys can cause accidents, particularly at night, since they are left to roam the streets.
Chikozho told Southern Eye yesterday that when he was Gweru mayor, the proposal to come up with a by-law that outlawed keeping of donkeys was made, but did not get to a stage of becoming a resolution.
“We will have to sit down again as city fathers and say this is what our residents are saying. I am sure a position leading to the drafting of a by-law banning the keeping of donkeys in our suburbs should be made. The problem is affecting our people greatly and I am making a commitment to help find a lasting solution,” he said.
Last year, the city council embarked on an operation to round up the stray donkeys, but it seems the operation died a natural death.