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Garissa municipality criticised over directive calling for removal of cows from town area or risk penalties

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GARISSA—The local administration of Garissa town has come under sharp criticism following directive compelling owners of cows that roam around the Central Business District to remove their livestock from the area, or risk confiscation.

In a letter on Friday, the Garissa Municipal Manager, Mohamed Bu’ull said the animals were a cause for concern.

“These animals are a nuisance to the municipality sanitation, as well as a threat to the road users through obstruction of movement and accidents, markets vendors and other traders incur loses through destruction of goods and property [as well as the] town’s image and aesthetics,” the letter seen by Kulan Post said in part.

In view of the above, the letter continued, the livestock owners are required to “remove their animals from the limits of Garissa municipality within fourteen days from the date of this notice.”

“Any livestock found roaming around the town will be confiscated/impounded and owner/owners prosecuted and fined as per the law,” the letter further stated.

The residents who want to keep livestock within the municipality were advised to practice zero grazing or find alternative fields beyond the municipality environs “to avoid conflict with the existing laws and regulations governing the municipality.”

Former Mandera senator, Billow Kerrow faulted the local administration for the move saying the presence of the cows was a symbol of the county’s identity.

“Is this really necessary? Cows roam in the streets of Nairobi & the owners are venerated, not punished. Garissa is a pastoralist County that should allow livestock to occasionally stroll in its CBD to remind the folks of where they came from!” Kerrow noted.

Mohamed Karur, a livestock advocate termed the move punitive, saying the cows “have always been a sight in Garissa since the ’60s”

“The county government has alot on its table: There’s a drought ravaging the area. That’s what needs addressing since some of these cows are owned by herders who have no any other alternative,” Karur said in response to the directive.

It’s not the first time such order was issued by the local administration. In 2020, the municipality made a similar call to remove stray livestock to no avail.

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