About a year ago, Abdi was sharpening his knives and cleaning his gumboots. He was preparing his tools of trade that he uses at the slaughter house. Little did he know it would lead him into trouble. Find out how Abdi got arrested for preparation for a crime he wasn’t planning to commit.
Abdi Omar was born in Majengo, Nairobi 18 years ago. He is the second born of 4 children. His father was a small scale businessman whose profit margin was barely enough to provide for his family’s basic needs. As a result, Abdi did not go past primary school. Abdi was actually a bright student who scored 312 marks in KCPE four years ago.
Abdi’s dad died a few months before his son could join high school. His ailment started with a persistent cough that could not go away. Abdi’s mom made a concortion from hot water, ginger, lemon and honey that a neigbour lent the family. However, the cold refused to go away.
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On a cold rainy night, Abdi’s father was coming from the local chemist when heavy rains started pouring. The family waited for him to come back that night. In the morning, a neighbor brought the sad news that Abdi’s dead body had been found, half hiding under a culvert.
Following his dad’s death, Abdi was not able to join high school. A few months later, he left his mom’s house in search of green pastures. Abdi joined his his elder brother in Kiambiu Slums, where the two of them rented a room and paid 800 shillings every month.
The two of them would leave early in the morning and walk to Kiamaiko Slaughter House. There, the two of them would look for piece work that involved slaughtering and selling goat meat. The two brothers worked for a broker who sometimes, failed to pay them. Instead, they would get meat that they would either sell at the slum or take to their mother.
How Abdi Got Arrested for Preparation
Before his arrest, Abdi and his brother would share responsibilities. The two of them split every expense in half and fulfilled their individual duties. In addition, they also helped their widowed mom every once in awhile. The two of them dreamt of one day having their own slaughter business so they could employ boys from the slum where they lived. But this dream was cut short when Abdi got arrest in October last year.
One night, the police were doing a random check when they knocked Abdi’s house. His brother had gone to buy vegetables and maize flour so the two could prepare dinner. Before the police arrived at their house, Abdi had been sharpening the two knives that they use in their trade.
When the police entered the house, they saw the two knives on the table and arrested Abdi.
“What have I done wrong?” he asked.
“You’re being arrested for preparation,” one of the police officers replied. “We’ve these two knives as evidence that you are preparing to commit a crime.
“I am preparing these knives for my work at the slaughter house where my brother and I work,” he replied. “I am not a thief,” he pleaded.
But his pleas fell on deaf ears.
The police men frog marched Abdi to the police station and locked him up for the night. Abdi felt angry, lonely, scared and confused. Together with his brother, Abdi had lived and earned a honest source of income when many of his peers engaged in crime.
Life in Remand Custody
To make matters worse, his brother did no visit him at the police station. Neither did any of his family members turn up in court, during his case hearing. Abdi thought the police men would visit Kiamaiko Slaughter House and verify that he worked there. He even gave the names of the person he worked for, some of his workmates and the names of the watchmen who worked there.
One year later, Abdi has gone to court several times and is yet to be released. His elder brother last visited him four months ago while his mom is yet to visit. Abdi has lost faith and trust in adults. Abdi is not alone. According to a report by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, close to 95,000 male offenders under 20 years old were convicted to prison in 2008 – 2012.
Though the same statistics indicate that prison convictions declined in the same period, a prison conviction has far reaching effects. Youth often plead guilty even when they haven’t committed any crime. This may lead to a damaging experience in court and eventually to a prison sentence that may scar the boys throughout their life.
Abdi was charged with preparation to commit a felony contrary to Section 308(1) of the Penal code. The possession of a knife does not, of itself, constitute an offence. Abdi had a pair of gumboots that is a preferred footwear by people working at slaughter house. However, Abdi was arrested and has been in remand prison for the past one year.
If found guilty, Abdi can be sentenced to 7 years imprisonment.
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Your support enables Lifesong Kenya to empower at-risk male teens like Abdi Omar. Instead of such wonderful teens feeling angry, bitter and thinking of revenge, our programs equip them with the following:-
- employable skills such as computer training
- character formation
- financial literacy
- soft skills