‘You can't jail a man for trying to feed his family’ Raila defends Naivas shoplifter

ODM leader Raila Odinga held a consultative meeting with Petroleum stakeholders in Nairobi on April 06, 2022. [Emmanuel Wanson, Standard]

ODM leader Raila Odinga has stood up for a Nairobi-based man facing a year jail term for shoplifting goods worth about Sh3000 at Naivas Supermarket.

Alvin Linus Chivondo, a repeat shoplifter appeared before Milimani Chief Magistrate Wendy Kagendo on Wednesday and admitted to two counts of stealing and handling stolen goods.

The court jailed him for one year or alternatively pay a fine of Sh100,000.

The news of his prosecution spread fast on the various social media platforms, prompting the Azimio la Umoja presidential candidate’s response.

In a tweet on Wednesday evening, the former prime minister came to his defence, demanding his release on grounds he was a ‘petty offender’

“Let Alvin Linus Chivondo be released unconditionally! Criminals are now getting a reprieve to campaign freely, while petty offenders are being jailed,” Odinga tweeted.

“Let the courts get their priorities right, for once, you can't jail a man for trying to feed his family,” he added.

Kenyans thronged the comment section with mixed reactions, as some supported the veteran politician’s sentiments.

Others criticized his move, asking him to bail out Chivondo rather than making empty demands.

“Instead of Tweeting Baba, why not pay his fine and he will be released immediately,” Kisumba tweeted.

“Just Pay that fine and Let the lad be released immediately. You can also proceed and support his family. This is just one case that has received media attention. We have many others in jail probably over the same. It is what the jubilee government has pushed Kenyans into,” Bravin Yuri also commented.

“Baba has spoken. The 5th it is,” Aldrin Ouma added.

Hours later, former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko shared a screenshot showing he had paid the Sh100, 000 Chivondo had been fined.

"I have also promised to give him a one month food stock plus offer him a job as well," Sonko tweeted.

The charge sheet presented in court stated that on April 10, 2022, at Naivas Supermarket located at Development House, Moi avenue in Nairobi he stole five kilogrammes of Daawat long grain rice, 500 grams of American gourmet honey and 500 grams of Fahari ya Kenya tea leaves.

The charge sheet added that he also stole five litres of Fresh Fry cooking oil and two kilogrammes of Kabras Sugar all worth Sh3,165 being the property of Naivas Kenya limited.

Chivondo asked the court to forgive him and promised not to repeat the offence.

In her ruling, Kagendo said that he found the accused not honest with his words and was a perpetual thief having been arrested earlier at the same supermarket over the same offence which he was forgiven by the OCS.