Bull fighting stifles war on Covid in Kakamega

Friday, April 9th, 2021 00:00 |
Bulls lock horns as a huge crowd cheer on during a recent contest. Photo/PD/FILE

Dennis Lumiti    

 It is 4pm and Solyo grounds in Shinyalu, Kakamega county is teeming with people from all walks of life.

Nearly all the people at this venue are armed with all sorts of crude weapons.

The grounds are chaotic with each member of the crowds chanting and dancing to different tunes of traditional music. The sound of isukuti is the most defined.

Many appear to be intoxicated on some substances going by their dancing and chanting styles and vigour.

There is a bull-fighting contest and the enthusiasts, as always, have arrived in their numbers.

This is the situation that law enforcers are increasingly finding themselves in as they try to combat the spread of Covid-19 in Kakamega County.

The county government yesterday raised the alarm saying recklessness among a huge population in Kakamega “was frightening”.

“We have a sizeable number that still believes corona does not exist. They are going about their businesses as if nothing is happening,” said the County Health Executive Collins Matemba.

Police overwhelmed

 Matemba said out of 65 cases that were sampled two days ago, 25 tested positive for Covid-19.

He said they were staring at a disaster and that this had forced them to set aside another corona facility in Mumias town.

Bull-fighting is now becoming the biggest threat to the war against spread of coronavirus in Kakamega.

The enthusiasts have overwhelmed the police and other security officers who are always outnumbered.

The organisers have refused to stop the activity and have a discreet flow of information that enables them to meet and stage the events no matter the prevailing circumstances.

They keep changing tack to evade the law enforcers. For instance, the contests were mainly staged early in the morning and at specific grounds but the organisers now do so at any time, anywhere.

The bull-owners argue that their beasts can not be contained at home without a fight because they will become more violent.

“If you keep the bull in that shade for even two weeks without a fight, it will turn violent and can harm anybody and anything in its sight,” said Musa Munyobo, a bull-owner.

The law enforcers are walking a tight-rope with some nursing injuries after battles with the bullfighting enthusiasts who are always in their hundreds.

Some of the enthusiasts even reportedly resort to sorcery to keep off security officers.

There was a recent case at Malinya Stadium in Ikolomani where one of the enthusiasts unleashed bees on the police and members of the provincial administration who had turned up to block them from attending a contest. 

Interestingly, the bees only attacked the law enforcers and chased them out of the stadium before returning into a sack.

The cultural activity, which is increasingly becoming lucrative due to gambling, attracts spectators from far and wide, thus, heightening fears that it would lead to a major spike in the spread of  the virus.

“It is true we are doing our best but our people are stubborn. Bull-fighting is perhaps our only headache now,” said Shinyalu police boss Robert Makau.

Ikolomani OCS Sylvester Olalo, who was a victim of stoning after he tried to disperse the enthusiasts at Malinya Stadium, said they were devising new ways to deal with the menace.

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