Residents of Kikuyu town in Kiambu County were treated to a rare wedding on Saturday, when a local donkey owner tied the knot using a donkey cart as means of transport from church to the reception, a kilometre away.
The couple could not hide their enjoy as they rode on one of their carts decorated to befit the occasion from the Kid Famaco main stage to the Full Gospel Church escorted by faithful and boda boda operators, catching the attention of many onlookers.
The bystanders followed the convoy to get a glimpse as Leonard Gichuo and Maria Wanjiru’s say “I do,” with many, saying they had never witnessed such a simple wedding in the town.
Gichuo said the motivation to be ferried by a donkey cart during their big day, was to show appreciation to the animal that has provided for his family for the last eight years.
“Where I have reached is due to this donkey. From the proceeds I get from it, I have managed to pay dowry for my wife and support my family,” he said.
To Wanjiru, the thought that she would ride on a donkey cart during her special day did not initially cross her mind until a few days ago.
“When he broke the news that we will use a donkey to the reception, I was hesitant but slowly gave in after realizing how much the animal has provided for the family,” she said.
Among those who attended the wedding were officials from the Donkey Owners and Transporters Association and Kendat, an organization that deals with Donkey welfare.
Robert Maitethye, the Chairman National Network of Donkey Owners called on couples to organize such simple weddings.
Maitethye took the opportunity to raise concern over the government move of setting donkey slaughters in 2006 and exporting the donkey meat abroad, saying since then, they have suffered losses due to donkey theft.
“The rate at which we are losing donkeys to theft is alarming. Increasing the number of donkey abattoirs is also hurting. The government should have consulted us before entering into a partnership with China for the export of donkey meat,” he said.
A representative from Kendat, Martin Mwiti called on the government to suspend slaughtering of donkeys but instead come up with a breeding system to increase their number.
In 2009, the country had 1.8 million donkeys while 1,000 are slaughtered daily. “The gestation period of a donkey is 14 months and its maturity take three years. Therefore it can take close to five years before a donkey can produce a foal. Comparing this with the rate at which donkeys are slaughtered in the country, they will become extinct in the next five years,” he said.
By Muoki Charles