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July 15, 2018

Prisoners regret dark past, beg for pardon

Shimo La Tewa prisoners during a tailoring class as pictured on July 9, 2018/ ERNEST CORNEL.
Shimo La Tewa prisoners during a tailoring class as pictured on July 9, 2018/ ERNEST CORNEL.

The Power of Mercy Advisory Committee conducted interviews at Shimo La Tewa Maximum Prison for inmates seeking pardon from from President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The two-day meeting ended on Tuesday and the committee left for Manyani Maximum Prison.

Former Kenya Prisons Service officer Joseph Maro is serving a life term at Shimo La Tewa. He was shot in 2004 when he and accomplices robbed Kizingo Hotel in Lamu. He has bullet fragments lodged in his leg.

On Monday, he confessed his mistakes to the panel and regretted joining a bad group that introduced him to crime. “I was motivated by the lust for richness,” said the 52-year-old father of three.

"Life is tough. I’m seeking forgiveness from the tourists we robbed. Crime doesn’t pay," he said.

Maro who walks with a limp fears for the worst if the bullet fragments are not removed from his leg.

Another prisoner Robert Mganga, 42, said he molested his brother’s son in 2013 and is serving life imprisonment. This divided the family, he said.

Three years before the crime, Mganga had separated with his wife owing to alcohol abuse.

"My life was a mess. I didn’t want to tell the court lies and I pleaded guilty. I have made peace with my family. I now have three diplomas in theology," he said.

The committee’s vice chairperson Janet Kirui said they have not heard of any incidents of indiscipline from the prisoners who have been freed.

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