Amos Kiruku is a free man having spent a decade behind bars after he was convicted of attempting to defile a four-year-old.

Kiruku, who maintains his innocence, served his sentence in four different prisons.

He speaks on life in prison and how he is rebuilding his life.

You spent ten years in prison. Can you tell us what happened?

Things happened really fast on September 6th, 2007. I woke up early in the morning and went to my neighbour’s where I was a casual labourer.

She instructed me to go to the river bank and cut a tree. My wife was not feeling well, so I asked her to excuse me for 2 hours so that I could check up on her.

I headed to a nearby shopping centre and bought a half kilogramme of pork and went direct home. I found out that she had gone to the dispensary and I started preparing lunch. I later dashed out to buy salt. I forgot to lock the door and that mistake cost me big time.

What do you mean?

When I came back, I found my neighbour’s children inside my house eating the meal I had prepared. I took a cane, disciplined and told them to leave my house.

I closed the door and went back to the shop to buy some onions, potatoes and a packet of unga so that I could make samosas to hawk in the evening. Once I returned from the shop, I learnt that there was a child who was hiding inside my house.

When I opened the door, she came out of the house screaming and in a span of five minutes, the compound was full of people chanting ‘he is a rapist’. One of my neighbours hit me with a metal rod on the head while others descended on me with kicks and blows. They accused me of sleeping with a 4-year-old child.

 Did you defend yourself?

Yes. I took a jembe and scared off the mob and ran to the chief’s camp where I reported the matter. But things took a sudden twist. Cops were called and they arrested me.

The next day, I was arraigned in court, where I denied the charges. Later, I was remanded at Industrial area for three years until the judgment was made on October 26, 2010.

I was found guilty, sentenced to 10 years and taken to Kamiti prison. Later I was transferred to King’on’go, then Naivasha and finally Athi river.

What about your wife and children?

That is the saddest part because my wife remarried immediately I was sent to prison. She told my kids that I was a rapist. But they believed me and used to visit me in prison.

 How was life in prison?

I was afraid because I had health complications. It was a struggle. Adjusting to a routine like time to eat, sleep, morning duties was difficult. But I made friends and we used to encourage each other.

How was it being a prefect in prison?

It was an honour because the prison officials saw my leadership qualities. For one to hold that position, you must have stayed in prison for more than three years and exhibited high level of discipline.

I also had a close relationship with fellow inmates at Athi river prison and I was tasked with making sure that nobody missed food or went for a second round.

I also used to coach inmates on shoe and leather production thanks to the training I had acquired while I worked at Bata, Limuru in 1986.

Describe your last day in prison?

It was one of the best days in my life. But I was also emotional because I was bidding goodbye to the people who had become family.

I woke up early in the morning, prayed and thanked God for keeping me safe behind the prison walls for 10 years.

I made a covenant with God that the first thing I would do when I go back home was to make peace with those who threw me in jail.

Did your family members welcome you back home when you were released?

Yes, but the joy only lasted for a short time because I received hostility afterwards.

My brothers were not so kind. Anyway, a well-wisher gave me Sh200 that I used to buy stitching tools, glue and started repairing shoes by the roadside.

I can say that I’m slowly getting back on my feet.

What are your plans now that you are a free man?

I believe that all is not lost and God willing I plan to marry again. I also plan to look for capital to boost my small business.

I only need Sh30, 000 to transform my life and be able to afford medicine. People should stop condemning ex-convicts because they are human too.

The government should make sure that their welfare is looked into after leaving prison.