NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 21 – Some said they did not know God when they joined ‘Langata Girls’, the nickname given to Langata Women’s Prison; but on Friday, they had all acclimatized to the word of God and even related the instance to that of Paul and Silas in the Bible.
As indicated in Acts 16:25-34, the 47 women who had been jailed for committing petty offences broke into songs, as prison officers called one after the other, to inform them of the good news f freedom.
“Paul na Silas, waliomba, milango ya gereza, ikafunguka (Paul and Silas prayed till the prison’s gates opened,” they would sing in unison.
It was a sacred moment for them following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Friday directive that will see some 7,000 petty offenders released from jail.
Just like the children of Israel sang and danced to songs of praise after they were released after more than 400 years of captivity in Egypt, they walked to freedom as their counterparts, who are serving time for serious offences bade them goodbye.
“Pray for us also that we may sometime get back our freedom,” they would say, expressing optimism that they may also get back to the society.
For 22 year-old Esther Nyakio, the day will remain in her records of remembrance after spending four years and a few months at the prison.
Nyakio was arrested at the tender age of 17 years for stealing from a friend but says she is willing to find her and seek forgiveness.
“Whatever I did to my friend was wrong but I have learnt my lesson and reformed,” she told Capital News.
“I leave this place a better person with more skills though I have wasted precious time in my life.”
Her only hope is that the society will accept her back.
“I want to move on from whatever happened in the past but I will always remain grateful to President Kenyatta,” she said.
Nancy Kendi, has spent five years at ‘Langata Girls’ but still maintains her innocence. “Many of us here never committed any offence, but its life,”
Kendi was working as a house help in Bungoma but she was allegedly not paid for two years.
After she demanded her Sh96,000, a scuffle ensued and later on she was accused of stealing Sh350,000 from her boss.
“I am going to start my own business now that I have learnt several courses like tailoring,” she said.
She is in pain “for serving five years and yet I was innocent” but she has forgiven her “tormentor.”
“I am happy that I back to be a raia (ordinary citizen),” the mother of one kid said.
Christine Okumu, a resident of Bungoma County has only served three months of her one year jail term for selling illicit brew.
“My message to the President is that he has my vote,” a smiling Okumu, who was with her one year old child in jail said.
For those who spoke to Capital FM News, their message to the President was one: “he has my vote.”
Addressing Kenyans during the Mashujaa Day celebrations at Machakos, President Kenyatta said the move was meant to create enough space for those found culpable of engaging in corruption.
“There is now enough space for the big thieves for the Chief Justice to jail them,” he said. “There is a lot of space now to deal with those people.”