By PHILIP ORWA
Ordinarily, people hire herders to tend to their livestock. However, that is not the case in Kisumu. If you think this is lakeside humour, here is the rub. Of late in the lakeside city, some livestock find their way to the grazing fields and back to their kraal without getting stolen!
The cows, goats, pigs, and sheep among other domestic animals, know their way to and from their owners compound like we know the back of our hands. And they know when to get out and get back without being shepherded.
The owners have gotten to a point of deserting their livestock to roam freely around the slums of Nyalenda, Manyatta, Dunga, Kanyamedha, Kondele among other neigbourhoods in Kisumu.
Dan Odhiambo, a resident of Dunga, claims the cows are protected by charms, and if one dares touch them, they get stuck or hover at the crime scene till the arrival of the owner, who has to do some rituals to set them free.
“Mago dhok ma otwe ma ka itemo mulo to inyalo kwamo kama gin ntie no nyaka wuon gi bi gonyi, kik item kata paro kwalogi (those animals have been ‘treated’. When you touch them, you stick around them until the owner liberates you),” says Odhiambo.
Odhiambo narrated an incident two weeks ago when two thieves had attempted to steal a car at Patel’s flat in Kisumu. They were nabbed looking confused and dazed next to the car after allegedly getting bewitched by a sorcerer from Tanzania.
The medicine man had come to Kenya at the invitation of the car owner who claimed he was tired of incessant complaints from neigbours about items ‘growing legs’ whenever left outside his house overnight. So he chose to enlist the services of the Tanzanian ‘expert’ to teach fellows who like pinching his items a lesson.
After a few minutes of fervent abracadabra, the Tanzanian bellowed: “Tunawapa wanao mazoea ya kuiba hapa ilani, laa sivyo watakiona chamtema kuni. Kutoka leo yeyote atakaye jaribu kuiba hapa atakwama na hataongea (this is a stern warning to anyone who tries stealing in this neighbourhood. Whoever attempts to do so will get stuck)”.
As a result, people now fear touching the livestock that loiter in town because they aren’t sure what kind of kinga (protection) the owner has used, explains Odhiambo.
Cynthia Achieng’, who resides at Nyaori, concurs, saying even cattle rustlers can never touch those animals.
“Hao mifugo wamekingwa (those animals are protected)!” she says with a giggle.