A reformed criminal from Mathare’s Mabatini area is blaming parents over the rise of young criminals in Nairobi County over the past few years.
James Zawadi who reformed from crime in 2018 says that joined crime at the tender age of 10 years when her mother went to work.
“My mother would just leave us at home when she went to work in Eastleigh. She never cared to check if I went to school or not. That is when i started petty crime of pick pocketing and break-ins,” narrates Zawadi.
“To my mum, life was all about going to work in Eastleigh and coming back home, too tired to follow up on what i was doing. This finally gave me the courage,” he says.
He says older kids in his hood would laugh at him at his naivety of not missing school despite his mother not keeping tabs on him.
Parental neglect coupled with poverty finally made him give into crime.
“They teased me but they later called me and told me they would show me the easiest way to hustle which was crime,” he says.
Zawadi however made an about turn from crime in 2018.
The events that led to him leaving crime include one, when he was almost lynched by a mob when coming from a mission.
“We were a group of thugs that had stolen some electronics. Fortunately or unfortunately i was the one carrying the TV when a mob accosted us. My colleagues left me behind because the weight of the TV slowed me down,” narrates Zawadi.
He says that the mob rounded him up and just when they were about to lynch him, his gang members came back and fired in the air, dispersing the thugs.
“Saved from death, i decided to turn my life around and leave crime. I currently live in Dandora, I am married and running a small business to make ends meet,” he says.