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Reggae music kept me alive in prison, ex-convict recounts

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A former convict at the Kamiti Maximum Prison has recounted his hard life in prison while serving time.

Willis Opondo otherwise known as DJ Stitches says that he served 22 years in jail for a crime he says he never committed.

According to stitches, he was accused of robbing a man Ksh. 470 simply because he was caught wearing the jacket he had been given by a friend.

The jacket  apparently belonged to a robbery with violence victim.

On that fateful night Stitches says he was from bar with his girlfriend and was he waiting to catch a matatu to Mathare before a mob descended on him.

“I was drunk and waiting for a matatu at the stage  only for me to hear a loud bang on my head. A mob had attacked and was beating me up. They called me a thief,” narrates Stitches.

Stitches says that he was then bundled into a Kanjo vehicle and was taken to the police station.

After two days at the station without food, he was then arraigned in court and charged with robbery with violence.

“I couldn’t prove my case because i had the victim’s jacket and they called it circumstancial evidence. The victim himself insisted that i was the one who robbed him,” he says.

“In jail life was harsh. I remember being baptised by fire. I was first asked who my chief was. And before I could answer, I caught a slap. I had to fake a name,” he says.

“We would go for five days without food in jail because those boilers that are used to make food would break down and take days to repair,” he narrates.

Stitches says that he was terrified because when he was convicted, deathrow inmates were still being hanged.

“Prisons are ruled by gangs and each prison had its own rules .”I once thought of committing suicide. Being a death row inmate who has been transferred in almost all Kenyan prisons was no joke” he says.

Stitches however managed to serve his time and was released last year.

He says reggae music is what kept him alive in prison.

“I remember singing reggae to one of my cellmate who later died of TB,” he narrates.


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