, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 7 – Ma Baker’s story may have ended in a blaze of gunfire but that of 87 year-old Risper Ngwena’s arraignment ended on Wednesday after the Director of Public Prosecutions withdrew burglary charges preferred against her.
In communication tweeted by Chief Justice Willy Mutunga, the Judiciary laid bare the facts of her case including the fact that the prosecutor had applied to have the case against her terminated.
The DPP withdrew the charges a day after Citizen TV told the story of her detention since December 21 on suspicion of having stolen a sufuria valued at Sh450, two plastic chairs, a radio and fire jackets all valued at Sh11,350.
The images of the evidently toothless senior citizen struggling to stand up straight in the dock in a faded red T-shirt, with the words ‘God is good all the time’ imprinted across it, lent credence to her daughter’s insistence that while the stolen items may have been found at the elderly woman’s Migori home, her physical condition made the charges incredulous.
Margaret Anyango, her only surviving child of 10, told Citizen TV that her mother was forced to spend the festive season behind bars given she’s a widow and was unable to raise the Sh5,000 cash bail set by the Rongo Court.
The picture painted elicited sympathetic responses on social media with @SophieMarshall3 for instance tweeting, “honestly I was ashamed watching this.”
Another @HawaOwi tweeted, “It’s good to show some respect to our senior citizens. Even if she was convicted, would she survive prison cells or jail?”
And @podhiambo341 greeted the news of her release on Wednesday with, “I am very grateful (sic) for what they did.”
They referring to the Director of Public Prosecutions Keriako Tobiko for directing that the charges be withdrawn and the matter be settled out of court and Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko who paid the Sh5,000 to secure the 87-year-old’s release.