In Summary
  • Esther Wanjeri led other elderly inmates in the celebration of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, singing traditional Kikuyu songs as younger inmates danced, the joy and laughter in their eyes hiding the difficult times they go through behind the bars.
  • At 84, Njeri is the oldest inmate at the facility.
  • For the past 15 years, the prison has been her abode.

In a blue khaki dress, Esther Wanjeri is escorted by prison warders to join her fellow elderly inmates in the celebrations to mark the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day at Langata Women’s Prison. The day was June 15.

It was a special day in the life of elderly inmates at the correctional facility and Wanjeri led her peers in celebration, singing traditional Kikuyu songs as the younger inmates danced, the joy and laughter in their eyes hiding the difficult times they go through behind bars.

At 84, she is the oldest inmate at the facility. Langata Women’s Prison has been her abode for the past 15 years.

Wanjeri was arrested in 1998 alongside her daughter Lucy Wanjiku, now 38, for killing her husband.

The old man had arrived home drunk and picked a quarrel, resulting in Wanjeri and her daughter fatally injuring him. Evidence adduced showed the deceased was hit with a blunt object, killing him instantly.

GILGIL STATION

The daughter, who watched her parents fight, had also joined the fray. The mother and daughter were initially locked up at the Gilgil Police Station before being transferred to the Nakuru GK prison until 2002 when they were found guilty and handed death sentences.

“We were then transferred to Langata Women’s Prison which has since become our home given we don’t know when, or if we will ever be released to see our family members. We are only living on hope,” she says.

Wanjiku, who was 23 when they were jailed, misses her daughter, whom she has not seen for the past 15 years.

“I hear she is a big girl now, that she has finished Standard Eight. My relatives used to visit when we were still new here but they no longer come these days,” she says.

SMALL POSSIBILITY

Wanjeri, too, longs for the day she will be set free, even though the possibility of that happening is small.

“At my age, I long to be at my home, probably I will be living a better and enjoyable life with my grandchildren, but the fact that I am in jail, I have to endure the discomfort of waking up early in the morning. I also have to follow the rules,” she complains.

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