- Moses Odhiambo was arrested three months after the death of his wife
- At the time of his arrest, he had developed urinal obstruction and erectile problems
- He claims that being assigned a female investigator made things worse for him
“I stayed behind bars hoping that my three daughters will never know that I was charged with rape. They used to call but I would tell them ‘Dad is away. He will be back after some time’. I am supposed to be their hero; imagine how they would have felt if they knew that I had done that to a lady. They were too young to understand that I was framed and it was just a mere fabrication,” Odhiambo narrates.
Moses Odhiambo, 64, (from Kibera, Kenya) got detained at Industrial Area Remand Prison in June 11, 2019, only three months after his wife died in April 13, 2019 at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), leaving him with three kids to take care of. He claims he had several squabbles with his neighbor, who eventually framed him for rape.
“When you are in prison, it feels like a part of you has left you – you are always in your thoughts. You crave silence but then again the voices in your head questions a lot of stuff. You are always one decision away from doing things you might regret your entire life. Time is two way: a friend and an enemy,” he states.
Time, he says, is a friend because it gives you hope. Every sunset and sunrise signals that the time you’ve been serving may be coming to an end, and an adversary in the sense that it never moves. In jails, the days and nights are interchangeable.
He goes on to say: “I sat and saw individuals die. Others suffer from mental illnesses, and the worst was getting exposed to instances where prisoners practiced homosexuality in full glare. I am old, and I did not anticipate this. It was upsetting, and I worried for my life. Nonetheless, I found myself spending more time in church.”
Odhiambo takes a breather and sobs.
Why did it take too long yet you knew you were innocent?
“In general, the wheels of justice are sluggish. It was a case of rape: a sin deemed an enemy of society, and no one was willing to listen to a guy attempting to prove his innocence,” he says dejectedly.
Odhiambo notes that it even got worse when he was assigned a female investigating officer.
He painfully narrates: “She seemed to have let her emotions take control of the event. Sometimes I think things would have been different if I had it the other way around. She never listened to me, and when the judges ordered that I obtain medical treatment, she refused to let me go.”
He claims he had a urinal obstruction and erectile problems at the time of his detention. A pretty frequent sickness these days. He claims that his time in prison was so horrible that he wouldn’t wish it on his greatest enemy.
He goes on to say: “My younger brother was continually up and down, attempting to establish that I was innocent. We both knew it was all because of a piece of property I owned, and my neighbor wanted it for himself, which is why he did all of this. I was in jail, worrying about my children and what they thought of me. Because they were minors, they were not permitted to visit. They knew I was detained but had no idea why; they stayed with my younger brother because I was not present and my wife had died. They (his children) are the reason I wanted justice,”
He further says that his accusers only went to court once. So when the medical report came and he was found innocent they (accusers) didn’t know how to react.
“They still don’t know how to react. We meet and when I look at them I can see the shock in their eyes,” he says.
Odhiambo was then acquitted 3 years later, June 20, 2022, after being bailed out by his younger brother. He claims that when he returned he found nothing. He claimed that everything was plundered, including his cutlery, bedding, mechanical equipment, and everything else he had left behind. He only found one chair with no cushions. The house was also partially demolished. This meant a fresh start.
What next after all this?
“I’m at a loss for what to do. I’m looking for odd jobs to supplement my income. I used to make and sell laundry detergent, but I no longer have the necessary equipment. I rely on friends and family for support. I want to launch a countersuit and request compensation for the time I served. I pray and hope for justice for myself,” Odhiambo comes to a close.
The writer (Jeremie Onyango) is a documentary photographer and storyteller from Kibera, Nairobi City. firstname.lastname@example.org