Many Caucasians in Africa have an obsession with dogs and other pets that I cannot fathom.
Many live in cities in walled compounds with guards, some armed with guns: so they do not need dogs to chase away monkeys, warthogs and guinea pigs that destroy crops, like the farmers who live on the edges of forests and game reserves.
Many live with their pets in their bedrooms and share the same food at the same table.
So I guess the dogs are not kept for security reasons otherwise they would not require the services of armed guards to protect their homes because at night their dogs snore in their “beds”.
Some Rwandans will not stop admiring and copying what they see “Bazungus” do.
They do so hoping that possibly somehow by copying what the latter do, some “Bazunguness” may stick on them and make their lot less African and therefore their lives and that of their families better.
One such Rwandan lives in Kiyovu, the Kiyovu of the rich in Kigali.
Unlike Bazungu who are paid in thousands of dollars, with such allowances as “African allowances” for working and living in Africa, the fellow is a government employee living in a small house and without a wall fence.
His dog is not kept in a kennel but spends days chained on a metallic pole behind the house from where it barks every time people walk past the reed fence that is erected on the perimeter of the homestead.
With the cost of food going up day by day in Kigali, I do not know if the dog is fed.
On Friday 31st July, 2009 employees were on their way to work and I guess the dog’s owner. As the gate was opened for the dog owner to exit, the dog used the opportunity to race to its freedom.
Outside the reed fence it saw a group of people walking to work and run after them like they were prey. It was such a scene; people running for their dear lives, the dog after them while its owner also run after it.
Some of the women simply discarded their shoes and hand bags as the dog chased after them some falling and getting bruises while others hid in the drainage channel.
The dog raced and chanced on one unfortunate public employee and the first thing it did was to sink its canines into his right hand with which he was trying to fend it off.
In the ensuing struggle the dog’s owner arrived and joined in the fracas kicking the dog as hard as he could but the dog was not letting go.
By the time the civil servant freed himself his hand was dripping with blood. The dog’s owner after kicking, punching and dragging the then mad dog back to its chain turned round and barked at the civil servant for having provoked the dog.
The civil servant was about to reason with the dog’s owner but someone warned him to be careful because the dog’s owner was a senior army officer; in fact by then the dog’s owner was in the 4x4 vehicle being chauffeured to wherever he was headed to.
The civil servant went to one hospital in Kigali where he was attended to and was prescribed a week’s injections of drugs to prevent possible rabies because there was no way of ascertaining whether the dog was vaccinated or not.
Thereafter, he went to report the case, in the hope that the owner might be cautioned; securely keep the dog in a kennel and possibly save another would be victim.
The Policeman, on duty at the Police station near ONATRACOM head office, as he (with his ground breaking shoes) majestically entered the place, where many people patiently waited, demanded to know if all of them were prisoners.
This drew murmurs from those seated, some on the cement floor. When the turn for the civil servant came for him to report the case, the Policeman said he needed to have the names of the dog’s owner before his case could be registered.
For those of you who live in Kigali surely know the trouble of locating a particular place because street names are far in between and signs showing house numbers and names of residence owners almost nonexistent.
It would be interesting for the victim to go and knock on the gate of the dog’s owner and say, “excuse me sir, your dog bit me in the morning. Kindly tell me your name”.
People in “Kiyovu of the rich” live; each in his walled or red fence and one resident may be hard pressed to know the name of his neighbour.
So the civil servant gave up on any assistance from the police. Next time you walk in Kiyovu make sure there is no gate opening as you pass by unless you know the owner of those residences.
Maybe you should avoid walking in Kiyovu of the rich until Kigali city passes a bylaw requiring residence owners to put tags showing their names, plot numbers and street names outside their residences.