Once more, Murang’a Governor Mwangi Wa Iria is a man on the spot after his administration set aside 17M which will be used to hunt down and chase away, back to the Aberdare Forest, thousands of monkeys that have descended on the county.
Apparently, Wa Iria accuses the monkeys of hampering his government’s service delivery through:
1. Terrorizing and sexually harassing women –
Well… The stories of the notorious Murang’a monkeys harassing women are not new.
In a small village called Ruchu, a group of approximately 300 marauding monkeys have been reported to be on the rampage, sexually harassing women. In a truly amazing incidence of interspecies communication, a group of vervet monkeys, Chlorocebus pygerythrus, is using sexual harassment to intimidate women.
Consequently, in an attempt to scare the monkeys away, the women are forced to wear their husband’s clothing, but the wily monkeys are not fooled.
“When we come to chase the monkeys away, we are dressed in trousers and hats, so that we look like men,” said Ruchu resident Lucy Njeri. “But the monkeys can tell the difference and they don’t run away from us and point at our breasts.”
Further, according to the residents the monkeys also make sexually explicit gestures at the women.
“The monkeys grab our breasts, and gesture at us while pointing at our private parts. We are afraid that they will sexually harass us,” said Njeri.
Of course, one may rightfully ask, what is it about monkeys and sex (and sexual violence)?
According to research, besides human beings, monkeys are among the most sexual of all living animals.
Renowned primatologist, Frans de Waal Frans dubbed them the “make love, not war” species, since they seem to resolve the majority of conflicts through sexual activity.
Frank observed that, some monkey species use violence to get sex, while others use sex to avoid violence.
2. Destroying Nappier grass and other crops –
The monkeys have been stealing food and destroying Napier Grass and other crops in farms, causing locals to lose their main food supply so that they now are dependent upon famine relief to survive.
The residents are now harvesting their crops early in an attempt to salvage what they can.
Worse, the monkeys have gone to the extent of breaking into the residents’ houses to steal their food. The residents even once formed a “monkey squad” that consisted of men who could track the monkeys’ movements, but there simply are not enough people available to do the job adequately.
Further, the monkeys have their own sentinels that keep watch on the residents, giving warning when they are approaching so the monkeys can escape.
Therefore, a sane soul, analyzing this issue objectivity, will concur that, it is one that requires urgent attention.
The monkeys are GUILTY as charged!
1. Does it fall within Wa Iria’s mandate to deal with the monkeys?
The main reason why the writers of Constitution of Kenya 2010 came up with devolution was that, they wanted to take government to mashinani.
Counties were principally created as units that could help solve Wanjiku’s local problems that the national government, sitting in Nairobi, had been unable to solve for the 50 years we have had independence…
2. Is using county money to hunt down the monkeys a shrewd way of spending public funds? Is hiring monkey hunters the best way to deal with the issue?
Yes, it is..
Remember, this is a totally local problem that can only be best solved using a local solution.
Hiring energetic youths, who understand the locality, it’s ecosystems, it’s terrain and it’s dynamics is the best local solution, at least for now.
And by the way, the decision to initiate the crackdown on the monkeys was arrived at after KWS, when consulted, told Murang’a County government that, the issue doesn’t fall within jurisdiction of KWS.
Finally, because I am almost sure that sooner or later, some busy bodies, calling themselves ‘wildlife ambassadors’, will call a presser and claim that the move is illegal and against wildlife protection laws, let me educate all of us here that, according to the laws of Kenya, monkeys are classified as pests. They are not wildlife!
So, yes, go..go.. go after those monkeys Wa Iria..
And of course, keep us updated with a status report on how many have been captured and how many are remaining.