ODM leader Raila Odinga has recounted his days at Manyani and Kamiti prisons and how his wife, Dr. Ida Odinga was his strongest pillar when he needed her the most. Speaking during the Azimio La Wamama convention held at the Catholic University in Nairobi on Thursday, the former prime minister recounted how Mama Ida smuggled notes to him, despite the risks which were involved.
”You cannot stand if you don’t have somebody strong around you. When spouses change wedding vows, it’s easy to say you shall be together for better and for worse, in poverty, in wealth but when the test comes, very few people pass that test. For me, you can say I was a troublemaker, but for her, she has seen a lot of flak,” Mr. Odinga said.
At one time when he fell sick at Manyani prison, the ODM boss recounts how he decided to go on a hunger strike while sick and was reduced to an animal following the mistreatment he was receiving from the wardens.
”I was feeling very bad – a lot of pain in my head. I was being detained in Manyani, Tsavo. I kept telling the security officers that I was sick but they felt I was pretending. I decided to go on a hunger strike. The security officers came and read the riot act to me that if I didn’t want to eat they would force me to eat through my nose. I told them to go to hell. I had already been reduced to an animal here, so I’m not going to take this lying down. I won’t accept to be intimidated in this conditions,” he added.
After continuously causing trouble while in detention and him being sick, Raila says he was then moved to Kamiti Maximum Prison in Nairobi where he managed to get in touch with his wife, Ida, through a friendly askari.
”They then decided to move me from Manyani and brought me back to Kamiti. I managed to get toilet paper and wrote a letter to Mama Ida and gave it to a friendly askari, who agreed to smuggle it to Ida. Ida went and talked to a doctor, who prescribed some medicine, which she bought and gave to the askari, who smuggled it to me in the cells,” the former PM recounts.
However, the smuggled note would later be found in his cells, spelling out trouble to Ida, whom experts had revealed upon examining the note, that it was written by her.
”They found the letter, which was not stamped as it was supposed to happen under prison laws. It had not passed through the prison system and they were alarmed and started investigations, going for Ida. She was tortured to reveal how she managed to smuggle the letter to me. That’s her story, but I must tell you she also went through a lot of hell,” Odinga said.