The author is a writer of interesting stories. He has done this for quite a long time.
The courtroom was filled to capacity. Men and women sat on the benches as Joseph, the accused, stood in the docks. A beautiful tall slender Kenyan girl made her way into the courtroom. She was crying uncontrollably. There were two ladies who escorted her. Seemingly, they were either teachers from her school or her close relatives. Supposedly, she was the plaintiff.
On the judge's table, there was a blood stained school dress. Besides, the gavel lay there. It was not until the judge entered the court that the unusual silence engulfed the entire room.
That day, Joseph would know his fate. He had been accused of luring a minor with goodies after which he had made love with her.Teller Bright, the prosecutor, was ready to cross-examine the accused. He interrogated Joseph for sometime and then sat.
Carolina, who was the complainant was still sobbing. Joseph vividly recalls the episodes of that fateful day. He was a teacher in a certain school located in the city. Having taught there for five years, he had got along with most of the teachers and the pupils. Indeed, he was the senior teacher. He recalls this particular day very well. After a long day of hard work, he headed for the teachers' quarters.
Hardly had he entered his tiny cube when he prepared some tea. As he was taking it, he heard a knock at the door. On opening, he was astounded by what he saw. Carolina stood there in games kit. She was a class Eight pupil who was preparing to sit Kenya Certificate of Primary Education exam (KCPE) that year.
Joseph's mind was in a turmoil. He couldn't tell what the girl was looking for at that place for it was out of bounds for the pupils. When he asked her what she wanted, she presented a piece paper to him. It was an english question on adverbs. He ordered her to leave that place for she was not allowed to be there. She insisted that she needed the answer but the teacher was not willing to answer. Instead, he would answer later, at the right place. Carolina proved to be adamant. She pushed the teacher and the two fell on the floor inside the house. That's where the teachers found the duo, Joseph still struggling to flee himself from the immoral girl. Probably, they might have heard a thud or maybe, the noises of the two disagreeing parties.
The head teacher was soon called on phone and arrived there immediately for his house was in a stone's throw distance. Joseph tried to defend himself but his efforts proved futile.
All teachers were cocksure that Joseph had been making love with Caroline. When the headteacher tried to inquire what had been going on, Carolina shouted that Joseph had ordered her to see him in his cube. Thereafter, he had seduced him and raped her. To prove that she was not lying, she showed the teachers bites on Joseph's forehead. She said that she had bitten him trying to escape from him.Joseph wanted to utter something but it was too late. The angry teachers and town dwellers who had by then thronged around that place attacked him ruthlessly. Carnal knowledge according to them was a felony. The police arrived on time to save the dying man. He was bleeding profusely. But who had called the police?
He was taken to the hospital and the following week he was informed that he would be arraigned in a court of law. That's how Joseph ended in a court that particular day.
As his close friends, we had attended the court session to know the outcome of the case. The witnesses were called and said what they had seen. The judge declared that there was enough evidence to prove that Joseph was guilty. There were both direct and circumstantial evidences and there was no way could the judge acquit him. The judge's verdict surprised many. For Joseph, it was like the end of his life. He wished he had been given time to say a word to his family members but if wishes were horses beggars..........He had been sentenced to fourteen years of imprisonment with hard labour.
As he left the courtroom escorted by two policemen with his hands handcuffed, he caught a glimpse of Carolina. He was about to cry but he remembered something he had told his pupils: Teachers never cry in front of the pupils. Despite the fact that Carolina had made him suffer, she was still a pupil. A minor. Probably, someone had coached her on what say. He knew that some teachers were envious of him and could have teamed up to bring him down. Had they succeeded in their plans?
Finally, Joseph was put behind bars.
Life in Prison
There are real criminals who get away with serious crimes. They must be very lucky. However there are those who suffer for the crimes they have not committed. The innocent ones. This word is full of mystery. It is also wild. Anyway, Joseph was now serving his second year of imprisonment. He had acclimatized to the lifestyle of prison.
Some days, they would be taken outside the prison a few metres away. They would lay bricks with fellow inmates under the tight supervision and close watch by the prison wardens. If he had thought life would be same, he was wrong. There was little to eat. At night, they slept on cold floor without bedding. It is while at prison Joseph learned that sodomy is the order of the day at prison. At night, the prisoners who have stayed there for quite a long time molest the newcomers. He went through this knowing that one day he would leave the prison.
The misery at prison was intolerable. There was a day he was late for supper. The officer on duty caned him severally before he was allowed to serve.
One night after the officer on duty had released them to go to bed, he went straight to his old mattress where he often spent his nights. He was about to recite his usual prayer when John interrupted. "Hey man! How dare you use my bedding?" John shouted rudely. Before Joseph could reply, John had already pulled away the mattress. Surprised, he asked his fellows what was going on. There being no one willing to answer, he made up his mind to report the matter to the officer on duty.
The prison door was always closed.
At that time, no one was allowed to go outside. Pooping and peeing were done inside the prison. So, there was no need or reason for leaving the prison anyhow. Now, Joseph stood there dazed.
After sometime, a nice idea struck his mind. He would fake to be sick inorder to have a conversation with the officer. That was a blessings in disguise.
The prisoners were astounded to see Joseph fall with a thud. On reaching where he lay, they discovered that he was breathing heavily. "Maybe he is suffering from a deadly respiratory disease." One of them said.
Moha, the officer on duty, had heard all this commotion. He was just eavesdropping on what they were were saying. On learning that all was not well, he opened the prison door immediately. He was shocked to see one of the most disciplined prisoners lying on the floor. After inquiring about the matter, he was pretty sure that Joseph was in a real trouble. So he had to act fast or else, the man would be no more.
An ambulance was called. The hospital was not far. Without dilly-dallying, the car sped off on a busy road. Within no time, they had reached Port Reitz hospital.
Joseph had passed out. But was he really sick? The nurses were very busy attending to him. It took about three hours for Joseph to come to.
Finally he opened his eyes. Moha stood there with other policemen whom he could not recognize. The policemen talked to him rudely. "Young man, our girls are not safe because of you. Do you know teachers' code of conducts? You will rot in jail forever. We know you are not ailing from any disease." One of them said.
What dumbfounded and baffled him is how these peculiar officer had known him. So, they know I'm a teacher. Who revealed that? Do they also known that I was falsely accused? I thought they knew that I'm innocent. Anyway, my fate is only known by God. Numerous thoughts whirled through the mind of Joseph.
He was roughly pulled away from the hospital bed by the two officers. However, Moha was not pleased at all. He ordered them to stop. There was a heated argument among the officers. The officers seemed to be barbaric. Finally, Moha instructed them to leave the room. Joseph didn't know the cause for the argument but he was certain that they wanted to discipline him.
As it turned out, Moha was a friendly man who despite his job that requires one to be hostile to some extent, had a unique personality. He asked him about the crime he had committed and answered. He dared Joseph not lie to him for he was ready to help him. Joseph repeated that he had not raped anyone. He also asked Joseph about his sickness of which Joseph told him that he had been suffering from mental illness since he was jailed. Moha just laughed.
On their way back to prison, Moha promised to help him if he only told the truth. Moha was indeed a special policeman. The way he talked, leave alone how he handled the prisoners was enough to describe his unique character. Probably, he was the only police who possessed such adorable traits. Other policemen in Kenya are known to be brutal. They harm and kill prisoners at will. Moha told Joseph not let the cat out of the bag as he prepared to go to the town school to find out whether the accusations against Joseph were true.
As he alighted the car, he saw a very tall man who had a protuberant stomach. That was the Officer Commanding Station. The OCS glared at him as he headed for the prison escorted by officer Moha.
Days went by and so did the months. Joseph was waiting to hear from Moha. Every morning, he would look for him but he was nowhere to be seen.
He had already given up on the matter when one day he was called to the office. He was exhilarated on learning that there was a letter for him. He expressed gratitude to the officer as he left the office to read the letter.
Hardly had he opened it when he started reading. He was flabbergasted to learn that the letter had been written by Moha. He was shocked after reading a few sentences. Moha had been transferred to another station far away from where he was serving a long sentence. He tore it apart and threw it away. Now, all hope was gone. The man he had got along with had left him. The only officer he knew to have descended from heaven! Now he was in his own world. He would serve the rest of the sentence in that ugly place. Probably, he would die there. He remembered his beautiful wife and a daughter. Who was taking care of them? Were they still at his home? Or, had they left? Such questions kept on nagging him without answers. Having nothing to do, he joined his fellows. It was a dull day and prisoners were cleaning the compound. The sun was soon going to rest.
After sometime, the darkness covered the whole land. Joseph hardly slept that night. He was caught between the imaginations of free person and a captive.
Life in prison was really becoming more and more difficult.
Freedom at Last!
"Prepare three drums of whitewash!" Corporal Marwa ordered. "Yes sir!" A junior officer replied. Inmates were moving up and down trying to make everything to be in place. There was a flurry of activities. The policemen supervised the inmates as they they decorated the compound with the whitewash. The bushes that had grown near the offices were cleared and trees trimmed. The compound was spotlessly clean. Needless to say, it was spick and span. The inmates were ordered to wear new uniforms so as not appear out of place. It was going to be a great day. That morning was calm and graceful. Birds chirped merrily as they flew from a tree to tree. It was the first time ever Joseph saw all police officers in brandnew uniform. On other days, some of them would be in old uniform and torn boots. Even others would wear slippers. But this day was going to be different. The day the people of that country commemorate the heroes and heroins. It was twentieth October and they were celebrating 'Mashujaa Day.' The president would visit that station— Tree Maxim Prison.
No sooner had the president arrived than all people stood. It was only after he sat that all folks were allowed to sit.There were many performances. Songs were sang praising People who fought for independence. Everything happened so fast. The moment Joseph had been waiting for with a bated breath came.
The president stood and was ready to give his speech. It was a long speech about freedom fighters. Before he concluded, what he said surprised many. "Last but not least, I would like to pardon the following people. Joseph Keller.......!" He read several other names and then continued. "These people have shown high discipline throughout their stay in prison. That is what we want as a nation. As a matter of fact they have turned over a new leaf. Today, with powers bestowed upon me according to the Kenyan constitution, I set you free. Thanks you everyone for listening." As he left the dais, Joseph felt as if he was dreaming. Finally, he would be free! His happiness knew no bounds.
He and other inmates were led to a room where they took their few belongings. There were several documents they had to sign before they left. As soon as they were through, they were escorted by one officer to the prison main gate.
As Joseph was about to bid his prison friends farewell, he saw a car parked by the road. From it alighted a handsome tall brown man. That was Moha! He couldn't believe what he had seen. He was very happy to once again meet up his friend. Moha explained how he worked hard to make sure that Joseph was released from the prison. He had interrogated several people including teachers on the matter (about whether Joseph had raped a school girl) and discovered he had been falsely accused.
Apparently, the teachers who had conspired with a young lass to have Joseph imprisoned had been sacked by the commission and their TSC numbers blacklisted.
As he boarded Moha's car, he heaved a sigh of relief. While in the car, he saw his wrinkled face in the mirror. He had grown old so fast. Surely, prison isn't a place made for human beings. Eventually, Joseph reached home. In spite of what he had gone through, he was happy that he was once again a free man.
Freedom at last!