By Markson Omagor
The following morning, we were roughly woken up at 5:30am. At that time I had just started enjoying my sleep because if I remember very well, I kept awake up to about 4:00am.
“Fall- in, Fall-in or pollen;” it actually sounded like pollen to me. I was woken up by Ogwang and ordered to squat facing him. This was lesson number one.
Every time there was a counting of prisoners, it was done in pairs, so one had to always have a counting mate. And oh boy! How you can see prisoners scampering in search of a pair-mate is amazing, coz if you had none, you would be punished for that.
Anyway, the count which in prison lingua is called ‘Lock-up’ went on well and a bell was rung once, meaning all inmates were there without any escapees.
The prison warders then opened for us at 7:00am to come out for what I came to learn was called Labour parade. Labour parade is actually an activity where prisoners are assigned various jobs and tasks to do. For instance there are those who are taken to do hard labour in farms (This group was always picked from Block B which consisted of what they called chicken thieves or petty offenders.)
This group was singled out because their offences attracted usually less than a year’s imprisonment. They were therefore less inclined to escape since escape from prison in itself carries a longer prison term.
The second group was that of inmates who were serving prison terms less than 7 years. They were the ones in the kitchen, carpentry workshop, prison hospital and in Boma administration. Boma administrators included Katikkiros or Ward Leaders, general RP’s and Lockup RPs.
We fell in the third category: Remand prisoners whose only work involved sweeping the compound, weeding and such light work. And in this category were the VIPs and commoner suspects. They were not called prisoners because they had not yet been imprisoned or courts had not pronounced their convictions and sentences.
The VIPs naturally just went out of the prison cells to sunbathe, enjoy fresh air and most importantly ogle at either the prison wardresses. The female prison is just adjacent and only separated by a wire mesh from the male prison.
So that morning, my first morning in Malukhu prison, I did all the three above fully clothed in yellow prison attire. The pair of shorts was new and also remember no underpants were allowed. So whereas I general enjoyed fresh air, my weapon of human procreation was having a blast.
Towards noon, it started raining and an immediate order was shouted.
“Ingia dani… Ingia dani. Kila mutu ndani…” rang the voice of RPs as they swung sticks beating whoever was delaying to enter inside their respective Wards – Cells.
I learnt that prison authorities are very uncomfortable with prisoners being outside their cells when it is raining because it makes prisoner escape a little easier.
So we literally ran into our cells and were promptly locked up. But something was happening outside. And there were now some prisoners who were peeping through a tiny opening of the cell door. Naturally I got interested and wanted to see for myself what was happening outside. My attempt was however rudely stopped when I was informed that the peep hole was a preserve of Wazee and it was thus called TV Ya Wazee.
I gave up and went to play cards with Ogwang.