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How Uhuru’s pardon changed these women’s lives

A day before President Uhuru Kenyatta pardoned 7,000 petty offenders, Anne Wangari, who was an inmate at the Lang’ata Prison gave birth to a girl.

She had already served a month and was set to serve another month after she was arrested in Mathare North.

And her fellow inmate, 24-year-old Maureen Musimbi who sat next to her holding her three-week-old baby, also gave birth while serving her nine-month term.

“I was arrested and sentenced for stealing a mobile phone and money at Muthurwa, where I was selling boiled maize and chips,” said Musimbi, adding that she was set to complete her term on November 24.

She said she was sentenced in March while pregnant. She delivered the baby at Kenyatta National Hospital.


“Being in jail was not easy, especially since I was pregnant. It was hard conducting chores and living under the conditions in prison,” she said.

Musimbi said she was happy that she was going home to her elder daughter who has been staying with her aunt during the time she was in jail.

“I am returning home where there is freedom. And although I may not be as rich as I may want, it is good that I am going to work hard with freedom,” she said.

Also released was Margaret Njeri, a mother of four, who was jailed for cruelty towards her two-year-old child, an offence she vehemently denied ever committing.

Njeri, whose husband lives in the UK, said she was arrested in Kangemi and that she had stayed in prison for five months. She was set to be released in two months.

“Life in jail was not as cruel as I had initially thought but I was stressed that I could not communicate with my children or even know how they are doing because I could not reach my mother-in-law who was in charge of them while I served my term,” she said.


A total of 47 women were released from the prison on Friday. Another 156 prisoners were also released from the Nairobi West Prison.

President Kenyatta invoked the power of mercy during this year’s Mashujaa Day in Machakos and pardoned 7,000 petty offenders and those who were about to clear their sentences.

The President is advised by the Power of Mercy Advisory Committee which is a constitutional body established pursuant to Article 133 of the Constitution.

The Power of Mercy is a prerogative power conferred upon the President by the Constitution and it entails granting pardon to the reformed and rehabilitated convicts deserving early release from prison.

Those who were released from various prisons jubilated as they walked to freedom.

At the Lang’ata Women Prison, they sang as they walked to the gate together, as those who were still serving their terms looking at them with envy.