INSIDE A KENYAN PRISON
Sirisia MP John Waluke was set free a few days ago, after serving three months in prison, for selling air to NCPB. He was charged and sentenced alongside his accomplice Grace Wakhungu, who is also known to him, beyond this deal
He narrated his ordeal in prison to a citizen journalist, but he never captured it all. Here is the true picture of what happens in prison
Once you are arrested the cops will keep you for a few days, before acting the conveyor belt to deliver you the nearest court, mostly the resident magistrate court. The cruiser will reverse and deliver you and your fellow suspects to the court cells, mostly located on the rear side of the court premises. This is where your ordeal will begin
Inside these court cells, you will encounter remandees who have been brought from remand, which is located inside the main prisons, for hearing of their cases. They will mercilessly attack you and steal everything they deem valuable from you. This is where any money you had will go. All your new clothes will go but they are caring enough to hand you tattered rags to cover your important parts from the climate
These are mostly hard core criminals. They beat you up as the warders look, but they do nothing. It is the order of the day, there. In fact they are already in jail, so where will you take them?
Assuming you are charged and sentenced, by evening a cage mounted on a seven tonne Isuzu truck, will reverse to the doors of the court cells to drive you to prison, to begin a life as prisoner. The cage has two units, the inner deck for the convicts and the outer one for armed warders, watching over these inmates
The truck is called “mariamu” and the cage has tiny gappings on the upper part, not to allow you view around, but for ventilation. This mobile cell, designed by a sadist was meant to carry less than 20 inmates, but most of the time it takes not less than 200 in one trip
Once in prison, you are a property of the government. They will frisk you for any banned products. Basically, everything is banned there and by the time you reach here, you hardly have anything of value
You will then be given an ID showing when you will be released and given a zebra stripped prison uniform. Of course it is neither new nor clean. You are given one left by a released convict. You are lucky if one is intact. In most cases they are too tattered to cover anything. The zebra suit, also called “kunguru” has no defined front or back, and the waist is fastened by an elastic rubber adopted from a pikipiki tube, to prevent it from falling and leaving you “bolingo”
In prison, you must keep alternating it, back to front, to prevent it from wearing out unevenly, because most of the days, you will be spending your time seated. You also leave your shoes to walk barefoot like duck. Shoes aren’t allowed inside GK prisons. This isn’t a holiday camp
A typical prison cell can accommodate upto 300 inmates, though it seemed designed for at most 50. It is a empty hall, with a toilet at the end. The hall is separated by a narrow passage, in the middle. On one side “trustees” sleep, while on the other side ordinary prisoners sleep. Trustees are veterans who have been in jail for long, serving longer terms. They have mattresses and even blankets and their side is less congested
A fresher can also have an opportunity to sleep on this mattressed side, if he is willing to pay with his exhaust pipe. This is a different world and all these “trustees” are gay
They scramble for new admissions and lure them with food! Some new admissions choose to officially “get married” to them, for this privileges. The more fleshy you are behind, the more attractive you are to potential suitors
On the other side, there is no mattress, no blanket no rag, no nothing. You sleep on bare concrete slab. There could be 250 of you in this column.
You sleep interlocking, like makiga bricks. One facing the wall as the next faces the passage
You are tightly locked together and the feet of the person sleeping next to you are literay in your mouth. You cannot sleep facing up or down, there is no space for such luxury
You sleep on your side and no matter how you feel exhausted you must stay in that position until the “governor” declares “haya pinduka” that the whole row change to face the other side
If you leave for the lavatory, there will be no place to sleep again. You will stand until sunrise
Breakfast is served as early as 7 am. It is poorly made porridge made of white corn floor, with water as the only other ingredient. No salt. No nothing
Lunch is served before midday. It is cooked water with one stem of sukuma wiki floating in it. No one knows where the leaf goes to. It is served with poorly made ugali, full of uncooked flour
Supper is served at 2 PM. It is the same “ugali” but this time, served with semi cooked beans. The food is served in a huge aluminium container, that looks more of an animal feeding trough than a plate for human beings
This utensil is called “mururu” it serves as a plate and a mug, when uji time, comes
Counting happens frequently, you are counted at least four times each day. This doesn’t happen as you sit, hell no!
You squat in rows of threes and twos. It is called “kaba”. You will not leave that place until the count recociles the records
By 3PM, you are locked in again, until the next day. The huge doors are banged from outside and secured with huge paddocks. Just like the “mariamu”, the building has no windows, as you know them, but there are gaps high above the high walls, for ventilation
Business thrives in prisons. You can sell your “ugali” for five bob. This means, with 5 bob, you can buy ugali. Again, roster cigarette sells for the same price
Bangi goes for ten bob. There are phones there, you can call your relatives to send you money for sustainance. How do these items get inside prison?
They are carried in the “boot”. In prison, the exhaust pipe has more uses
The rectum of one mature male can carry a few mobile phones, a few dozen roles of bangi and several dozen roles of roster, filterless cigarettes
The prison perimeter is secured by high walls and sentry positioned evenly around the facility. The warders are allowed to pump copper into your buttocks, should you attempt to jump off
In fact, you aren’t even allowed to look the direction of the walls, because it suggests you could be planning an escape
That’s the real picture, that Waluke never had time to explain! Yours truly has visited this holiday camp, not once!
By Jerome Ogola