, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 26 – The 18th of July 2005 is a day that 31-year old Kennedy Mwangi, will never forget. This is the day he was beaten by prison warders at Embu prisons and left for the dead after defying an order.
Mwangi, who hails from Kerugoya Constituency, says on that fateful day, he refused to go back to Kamiti Maximum Prison after his death sentence ruling at the Embu Law Courts where he had been found ‘guilty’ of being involved in a robbery with violence case at his former employer’s hardware shop. The crime was alleged to have taken place on December 21, 2002.
It has been an agonising 10 year struggle to be free.
Hell broke loose when he insisted that he to be given some key documents that would help him to 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 that 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.