Kamiti Maximum Security Prison is a prison in Nairobi County, Kenya. The prison is within Roysambu Constituency, bordering Kiambu County. Originally named “Kamiti Downs”, it sits in the middle of its own 490-hectare (1,200-acre) estates which lie fallow and untended.
During the 1980s and early 1990s many political prisoners were held at Kamiti, including Hussein Onyango Obama, Kenneth Matiba, Raila Odinga, Koigi wa Wamwere, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Jonah Anguka and numerous others.
Many executions have been carried out in Kamiti. Mau Mau rebel leader Dedan Kimathi was hanged by British colonial administration on 18 February 1957. Hezekiah Ochuka and Pancras Oteyo Okumu were executed there on 17 May 1987. No death penalties have been held in Kenya since, although capital punishment is not formally abolished.
Kenya’s prisons are infamous for poor conditions and inhumane treatment, although the situation has improved slightly during Mwai Kibaki’s government since 2002 and some prisoners on death row have been released. There is still no reliable water supply, with over 200 prisoners hauling buckets of water around daily. The inmates working in the “industry” section are paid only 10 cents (Kenya shilling) per day, as per the outdated 1940s legislation which rules the organisation.
Within the prison, condemned “G” block is famed for its particularly brutal lifestyle, characterised by predatory sodomy and mobile phone confidence tricksters. The prison was built for 1400 prisoners, and it now houses over 3600 in poor living conditions.
On 17 November 2008 a search was carried out in G block for mobile phones which resulted in a brutal beating by the warders being captured on mobile phone video and given to the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR), and shown on Kenyan TV.
Kirugumi wa Wanjuki was the longest serving and to date last hangman at Kamiti. Wanjuki died in 2009.
In November 2009 at least eight prisoners died due to cholera outbreak at Kamiti Prison.
Kamiti Maximum Security Prison Gallery
Poem – Transfer by Revolutionary Patriot about Kamiti
by Revolutionary Patriot
When they come at Kamiti to see me
You will explain to them
You will tell them I am no longer at Kamiti Prison
They have transferred me 800 kilometres
Away from Werugha, where I was born
They have taken me to Eldoret
Not at Eldoret town, not on a tour
They have taken me to prison
To bury me in the pit of torture
When my wife comes to see me
Try to inform her
But also tell them not to worry
Being transferred doesn’t trouble me that much
Let them understand
Because at no time did I request
To be imprisoned, to be imprisoned in any prison
For prison is prison, wherever it is it is prison
Hunger, boredom, brutality and torture without end
So, will the oppression inside Eldoret Prison
Be more than that here at Kamiti Maximum?
Sooner or later I will find out………..!
Furthermore, surely dear comrades
Their separating us will not separate us
We shall be together
Everytime and everywhere at all times
The agony with us my comrades
Will paste us together always
True, they will never succeed
To separate us ideologically
We have decided to be friends
To be comrades in the revolution
How can they ever divide us?
Has been born by the great work and responsibility
Given to us by history
It is held by the glue of all that
We have experienced and are experiencing together
Let us love one another for ever……..!!!!!
Comrades, when they come to visit us
Tell them, wherever they will imprison me
One day I will be released
I will be released I will be released
Because whichever has a beginning also has an end
One day we shall come out of here
To reunite with comrades and patriots of our country
Not in the life of laziness and self-indulgence
But in the great and noble work
The work of searching for the freedom and liberation of Kenya
The work of struggling
Struggling against exploitation of person by person
For now keep on remembering
And to them also explain that they may know
While in Eldoret Prison
Or wherever they may take me
Come rain come shine, whatever come may
I will not change my mind, I shall never betray the struggle
I will continue fighting for my humanity
I will continue with the revolutionary stand………
A time like this
When hundreds of patriots
Involved in the liberation struggle
Are in detention or prison or exile
We cannot indulge in self-pity inside here
We cannot just think of only our agony
We cannot accept to give up hope
We must struggle at all times
The medicine of life in prison is struggle
That which is more moral and humane is struggle……
Those who are more humane
Have chosen the road of struggle
And we also have opted not to be left behind
For our love is also the love for our country
It is true and just love
It is love for freedom and democracy
The love for struggling for a new socialist society
If we remain true to what we have resolved together
If we make revolution to be our life at all times
Our friendship will last, it will last forever
The sadness of bidding farewell to one another now
Manifests the extent of our relationship
It shows the level of our comradeship
How we value love!
And since we value love
We shall give our lives to ensure
Those who love one another
Will not experience the pain we are experiencing today
The pain of friends being separated by prison
Kamiti Maximum Prison 13-1-1987
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