Editorial

A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY OR NOT

Odongo Odoyo

Topical Commentary

With Odongo Odoyo

My chat point colleague came to me with a look that tells it all. He was so engrossed in a world of thinking which was evidently seen in his face. He was telling me that sometime the world is very cruel. Take for example the case of this man Kenneth Kawonda Joseph who spent 13 years in jail only to be released recently unconditionally by the appeal court. The man was sentenced in 2008 for murder and was in the line waiting for the final fate when the gods opened the doors of heaven and poured luck to let him walk to freedom. Was Kenneth’s case a case of mistaken identity or was the trial magistrate erred in sending him to the gallows. If so how many people are serving sentences for offences they did not commit. Some may even have heard their final verdicts to the hangman. Whichever way this case should teach us a some lessons. It should be a total fool-proof before deciding on the fate of your fellow human being. Cases of mistaken identity have so rampant that both the investigators and courts should take time to determine in details circumstances that would make one be put in jail or police custody. It is common that when a case is opened against an individual, that person is treated as an offender and sometime end up in jail without proper cause of investigations. True we live in a sometime cruel world dominated by cruel hearts that only listen to the simple song of coin. The man who can tell it all is Kenneth if only he knows where to go to from prison after 13 years. It could have been ideal for people like him to be sent to rehabilitation centres first to adopt the happenings in the outside walls of prison before being taken to his home. He could be finding it difficult to socialize with people he left behind and who might still be seeing him in a different form. The man will come to terms with the situation outside the prison walls which had been his home that long period of time. The prison authorities should have made these arrangements and ensure that until such cases were handled professionally and even home visit arranged until the man’s life turned back to normal. There are organizations’ that could help him jump-start a new life among his community who should also be ready to welcome him among them. He should not be branded a criminal by those he would be staying and really be supported as he start yet another life. I listened to the concern aired by my friend and totally agreed that indeed Kenneth should have been homed in a rehabilitation institution before being taken home and if possible be accorded all help necessary until he became back to his older normal life. It was important that the society should also be tolerant to his situation and not tag or judge him negatively.

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