I almost lost my manhood, ex-convict Charles Shitanda narrates as he leaves jail

Charles Shitanda as he left Kamiti Medium Prison. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

"I still don't believe I am free, I will only believe once I finally step out of the prison compound," he declared while staring into the blue skyline as reality started to sink he is reuniting with his family.

Shitanda is among 69 inmates at Kamiti Medium who have been set free through a presidential pardon following the recommendation of the Power of Mercy Advisory Committee (POMAC) that shortlisted of 2,990 inmates across the country.

"The prisoners qualified for freedom following a vigorous vetting exercise by various bodies. I can confirm that a total of 2,990 are being reintegrated into the society," said Commissioner General of Prisons Brig (Rtd) John Warioba.

According to prison authorities, those who benefitted had either served for six months or were remaining with six months to complete their jail terms.

David Kahuho Nduta

The thirty-one-old had served for about 10 months at Kamiti Maximum prison where he was a cook.

Convicted for dealing in changaa, the father of three was first held at Kamiti Medium prison before being transferred to the maximum security wing.

He was to serve for about two years after his relatives declined to raise the Sh 100,000 fine imposed by court.

A resident of Riabai of Kirigiti, Kiambu County, Kahuho was initially a boda boda operate before deviating into the illicit alcohol business that landed him in jail.

The man claimed he has completely reformed during his short stint in jail. "I have learnt a lot while inside. Before I was brought here, I used to ignore advise from my relatives and authorities," he said.

Since none of his relatives was aware he had earned back his freedom, Kahuho said he planned to surprise his children by buying them yoghurt and cakes. The man had saved Sh500 given to him by a visiting relative.

Kahuho rues bad company and going forward, he vowed to shed off friends hell-bent on breaking the law.

He was asleep when a warder woke him up; breaking the good news that at first left him stunned.

"At first I did not believe, but it became apparent I was a freeman when I was taken through the clearing process," said a bemused Kahuho.

Once he stepped outside the main gate, the former convict beamed with joy as he walked to the bus stop.

"Life is really interesting, I used to pass at this gate while ferrying changaa not imagining one day I will be a guest inside," said Kahuho leaving warders manning the gate in stitches.

Kamiti Maximum officer in charge Bison Madegwa said Kahuho was the only one released from the facility since others whose names were forwarded to POMAC, had either completed their sentences or been transferred to other prisons.

Erick Karani Nyabuto

The thirty-one-year-old was serving an eight-month jail term after assaulting a friend in Nairobi's Huruma estate.

The matatu tout came to the prison without any skills; but now he has trained in tailoring and tannery.

"I am heading straight away to Kisii where I will seek forgiveness from my parents," said Karani. He had served for five years, a duration Karani says does not regret since he is more equipped with life survival skills.

He was arrested and charged for beating and causing the friend grievous harm. Karani said the incident taught him a lesson promising never to engage in unnecessary quarrels.