By Silas Nyanchwani
I have watched this brilliant Monday Special on Citizen TV about foreigners imprisoned in the Kenyan jails, focussing on three women; a Zambian (I believe), a Ugandan and a Pakistani.
Man, I always dread life in jail. A Kenyan police cell makes sick, I can’t imagine a jail. They all seem good women, were probably good mothers, who tripped and they are now condemned for an eternity in jails away from their families. Sad.
Except for the Pakistani, the other two women have accepted they were wrong, guilty, though not as charged, as the one from Zambia points out, a life sentence for 700 grams is too heavy a price to pay.
The one from Pakistani says, she was set up. That ranks up as one of my worst fears. Five years, or so, ago, on a random Saturday morning I was at Dubai Airport, with a five-hour lay-over for my connecting flight to Nairobi. Given the sparkling clean floors and carpeted parts of the airport, where other waiting passengers slept comfortably, I was equally tempted to sleep. And I slept, part of the reason, being that I rarely sleep when on transit. I always accumulate all my sleep so as to sleep when I arrive at my destination, but this had compounded my sleep and I was tired as hell.
I was rattled from my sleep by one of my traveling companions that my bags were unattended.
“You gotta watch over your bags, someone may sneak in drugs and that can change your life,” he told me. I was taken aback. That had never occurred to me as a remote possibility. But it scared me shitless.
I mean, you are traveling and while relaxing at the airport, you take a nap as you wait for your flight and the next thing you know is that the immigration officers are on your case. It will take forever to prove your innocence. And in some countries in Southern Asia, you will be shot dead, as Indonesia did to four Nigerians, last week.
In my private moments, I always think about the guys in jail. Barring rapists, convicted murderers and those who cause grievous body harm to others, most of the people in prisons are innocent, while some are serving frivolous sentences that if they had a good lawyer, or money, they would have bought their freedom out.
But as we saw, Shawshank Redemption, that ageless film, taken off a Stephen King novella, when in prison, if you accept your fate and adjust accordingly, you can be happier, ‘freer’ than some of us, condemned to the fearful life of bills, debts, political maneuverings, Donald Trump, a William Ruto presidency, you name it.
Even Nelson Mandela, adjusted properly for him to survive the 27 years he spent in freedom.
I hope in the future, our children will live in a world where prisons will be closed down, as in Netherlands, and only reserved for the extreme criminals. The world will be rich enough to eliminate the prisoners who have imprisoned because of crimes that can be traced directly to their poverty; prostitution, petty mugging, small-scale drug trafficking-drugs by then will be perfectly legal.
As for the women, we should have them in our prayers, together with those incarcerated undeservedly, hoping that God will work his miracle and show them the light.