African Outlook Online

Legendary Author Maya Angelou Dies at Age 86
Legendary Author Maya Angelou Dies at Age 86. Legendary Author Maya Angelou Dies at Age 86 Africans share in grief over passing of Civil Rights... Read more..
Read more.. images/stories/maya_angelou1.jpg
Four Scores for 'Prince Noble': Bola Ajibola
Four Scores for 'Prince Noble': Bola Ajibola. Four Scores for 'Prince Noble': Bola Ajibola   By Idris Katib Scientists... Read more..
Read more.. images/stories/prince_bola_ajibola.jpg
Nigerian Author Adichie Wins Fiction Prize
Nigerian Author Adichie Wins Fiction Prize. Nigerian Author Adichie Wins Fiction Prize   NEW YORK - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's... Read more..
Read more.. images/stories/chimamanda_ngozi_adichie.jpeg
Eye witness: From Khartoun to Beijing, Reporting on the Chinese Dream
Eye witness: From Khartoun to Beijing, Reporting on the Chinese Dream. Eye witness: From Khartoun to Beijing, Reporting on the Chinese Dream   Friendship with... Read more..
Read more.. images/stories/yahya_mustafa.jpg
Kenya: Recouping After 10 Yrs Jail Term for Crime He Didn't Commit
Kenya: Recouping After 10 Yrs Jail Term for Crime He Didn't Commit. Kenya: Recouping After 10 Yrs Jail Term for Crime He Didn't Commit   Nairobi —... Read more..
Read more.. images/stories/kennedy_mwangi.jpg
Nigeria's Tope Folarin Wins Caine Writing Prize
Nigeria's Tope Folarin Wins Caine Writing Prize. Nigeria's Tope Folarin Wins Caine Writing Prize   US-based Nigerian writer Tope Folarin... Read more..
Read more.. http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/68618000/jpg/_68618405_tope-folarin.jpg

Kenya: Recouping After 10 Yrs Jail Term for Crime He Didn't Commit

Kenya: Recouping After 10 Yrs Jail Term for Crime He Didn't Commit

 

Nairobi — The 18th of July 2005 was a day that 31-year old Kennedy Mwangi, will never forget, because it was the day he was beaten by prison warders at the Embu prisons and left for dead after defying an order following his conviction in court.

 

Kennedy never gave up the pursuit of justice Photo: MUTHONI NJUKI

Mwangi, who hails from Kerugoya Constituency, says on that fateful day, he refused to go back to the Kamiti Maximum Prison after his death sentence ruling at the Embu Law Courts where he had been found 'guilty' of involvement in a robbery with violence case at his former employer's hardware shop. The crime allegedly took place on December 21, 2002.

 

It has been an agonising 10 year struggle to be free for Kennedy.

 

All hell broke loose when he insisted that he had to be given some key documents that would help him appeal the ruling before he left for Kamiti with other convicts to start serving his jail term. Mwangi says he will never forget the hour-long torture he underwent at the hands prison warders who were drunk. They beat him up until he became unconscious.

 

"My fellow convicts were already out waiting to board the prison bus, but I refused. I went back to one of the cells and about 10 prison warders came inside and started beating me, claiming that I was rude. They would hit me all over my body and when one of them hit my head with his shoe, I can't tell what happened next. I woke up after five hours to find myself at Kamiti Maximum Prison. My whole body was swollen," he recalls.

 

He says due to lack of proper treatment at the prison, his health deteriorated leading to permanent disability on his legs and his left ear.

 

"I got treatment after three months when one of the senior prison warders ordered that I get treated because he did not want me to die. I was later taken to Kenyatta National Hospital but it was too late to save my legs. My spine had been damaged and my ear blocked."

 

Despite 10 years of hardship behind bars, Mwangi never gave up seeking justice. He says what saved him were the reforms in the judiciary when the Chief Justice Willy Mutunga ordered all delayed cases to be dealt with. This led to his release on January 9, 2013 after it was realized he had been jailed erroneously.

 

"I encouraged myself because I knew where God had delivered me from. I had been destined to die, but he saved my life. Now all I wanted is food, house and shelter," he says.

 

Things were not smooth after his release. He had to start his life from scratch since all his property had been sold by his four brothers including his house and a two acre piece of land. He moved to Nairobi to seek refuge at his sister's house but later left for the streets after five days since his sister's house was too small to accommodate him together with her family. He started as a beggar in the city center in February this year where he managed to collect at least Sh500 a day.

 

"After the death sentence, everyone gave up on me including all my family members. No one even bothered to check on me. My brothers had taken all my properties. So after my release I did not even have a home. I started begging using this small cup here," he says lifting the cup with several mobile top-up cards, "I will keep it forever. I would get many coins then I go any supermarket and I exchange with notes,"

 

However after two months on the streets, one Sunday Morning he decided it was time to change and become a better person despite being on a wheel chair. He saved some coins from what he collected and started hawking items like cigarettes, sweets, cakes and airtime on Uhuru Highway. Mwangi later managed to rent a Sh2,000 house in Banana where he now lives with his newly wedded wife. He does not only enjoy the fruits of his labour everyday but says his self esteem is back.

 

"This wheel chair is the one I was given at Kamiti Maximum Prison and I will use it to make my life better. I make a profit of close to Sh1,500 a day."

 

Mwangi's day starts at 5am and ends at 9pm. He arrives at Luthuli Avenue at 7am to buy his stock for the day, and heads for Uhuru Highway. His joy is when there is heavy traffic jam, especially during rush hour. His has a dream of starting his own restaurant in the next one and a half years. He has forgiven all those he feels made him suffer in jail for ten years, and come out with physical disability. The most important thing in life is freedom and to achieve his dream ahead.