Mother of Kenyan in China prison pleads for Ruto's intervention

Dorcas Okwisa Oponyo. Her son Peter Amisi was incarcerated in China in 2008 for drug trafficking. [Benjamin Sakwa,  Standard]

Dorcas Okwisa Oponyo from Khwisero is miles away from China but can’t help untangle her mind from the happenings in the Asian nation where her son is serving a life sentence in prison.

The 69-year-old woman fears that she may die without seeing her son Peter Amisi again. Amisi was incarcerated in 2008 for drug trafficking.

“I have relentlessly asked the State to intervene for his release to no success,” she says at her Munjiti village in Khwisero. “I have since been forced to learn to stay half-asleep at night as he calls only once a month to say how he is fairing on.”

Her son Amisi was arrested on May 28, 2008, by the Shenzen Anti-smugglers Bureau en route to Guangzhou Province from Hong Kong while smuggling into China 125 pellets of heroin which he had swallowed.

He was charged and sentenced to death a month later, which was later commuted to life imprisonment.

His mother was inconsolable when she received the shocking news on June 22, 2008, from her eldest son James Makanji.

She says thinking about her son’s predicament in the foreign land strains her mentally.

Since her son, 50, was incarcerated, she walks with her phone everywhere she goes just in case he calls to talk.

“It is usually so refreshing to hear him from the China prison. I cannot help but imagine it’s him calling whenever my phone rings,” she says.

“He is ever jovial and assures me that he will return to Khwisero one day, that I should not be overly worried about him because it could hurt my health. He says he is fine, just that I should pray for his release,” she says.

And prayers are what Ms Oponyo, who calls herself a prayer warrior, believe made her son’s death sentence be reduced to life imprisonment.

Even as Kenya and China have no bilateral arrangement to exchange prisoners, the mother of eight believes her faith can make it happen so that “we stop talking on phone and speak face-to-face.”

She has been to several politicians whom she believes can help influence a decision to release her son, but says they have not been helpful.

“I went to Moses Wetang’ula when he was Foreign Affairs minister and he advised that we had no programmes to exchange prisoners. He also said Chinese prisons were better than the ones in Kenya,” she says.

This, however, has not stopped her from sending yet another appeal to President William Ruto to intervene for Amisi to be freed or transferred to a Kenyan prison.

The Standard
Subscribe for the KES1999 KES999 offer today!