Man convicted for killing Pio Gama Pinto claims life in danger, 20 years after his release
Kisilu Mutua, the man convicted of killing freedom fighter Pio Gama Pinto, now says his life is in danger, more than 20 years after his release.
The 80-year-old man who hails from Machakos laments that unknown assailants have been threatening him over a land tussle in Eastleigh, Nairobi.
Mutua who at the time of his sentencing was only 23 years old, says he was slapped with a 36-year jail term at Kamiti Maximum Prison for the historic murder of Pio Gama Pinto in 1965.
Although he says he was wrongfully convicted, he 0managed through the term and was pardoned by the late President Daniel Moi in July 2001 after a campaign by his family and activist groups.
He recounts how after a long time in the correctional facility, he came out only to find a new life with no place to call home, following the death of his two parents and two siblings.
“I was taken to the Ministry of Home Affairs and transported to my home in Machakos where my family lived. But my mum had died and I remember the last time she visited me was in 1971. Now I was free but she was no more. My two brothers also had passed on, and my other sibling disappeared to Tanzania, that’s what I was told,” Kisilu recollects.
Having attained freedom nearly four decades later, Kisilu was taken to his village but now, an orphan, his ancestral land had new occupants who he was scared to question. He explains: "So I thought, they will kill me since maybe they have heard of what I was accused of.”
In light of this fear, Mutua says he opted to return with his benefactors to the country’s capital where with the help of the ministry, he secured a piece of land at Kiambiyo and the authorities also granted him permission to put up a carpentry business.
In 2004, his woes started after a land dispute ensued prompting a demolition of his iron sheet house by a nearby Church that claimed the ownership of his state-given land.
He reached out to the authorities for help and they directed: “The plot had been identified and given to him by the ward managers ... The chief valuer had given direction to the ward manager to identify the plot in his letter dated 1st December 2006. Please assist Mr Kisilu to get back the said items,” Ms Jane Mwangi, the Provincial Probation Officer, wrote on June 19, 2007, to concerned authorities.
Having learnt carpentry in his 36 years in prison, he laments that he is unable to set up a shop since the church already encircled his property with a wall.
“I learnt carpentry while in prison and now I make sofa sets for a living, but I cannot display them because the church has built a wall in front of my house. Now people cannot see what I have made, that was my source of income.
Mutua goes on to say that recent threats are giving him sleepless nights in his old age, especially now that he has a family.
The current father of three recollects a recent attack in April by five machete-wielding gangs who only spared his life after three of them recognized him from prison.
As he seeks protection, he says the aftermath of the incident, has forced him to send his family back to his in-laws in Machakos.
“I have three children, two boys and my small girl. I am scared for them. I had to send them home because in April I was attacked. Five men armed with pangas broke into my house at 12 am. My family was asleep. I woke up and grabbed a panga. I was scared but I am a father, I have to protect my family,” he recalls.
He added: “I knew that was the day I was going to die, but luckily three of the men recognised me during our time in prison. They spared me. That’s why I had to send my wife and children back home in Machakos because I don’t want to risk their lives."
Mutua now appeals to the government to come to his rescue from his new oppressors baying for his blood.
“I have never done anyone wrong, I was falsely accused and did 36 years in prison. And it’s the government that put me here. I have built a home here, I need help. If they can attack me while there was no wall, now that I am enclosed what will happen? I am scared for my life,” Kisilu says.
He added: “I survived being hanged in Kamiti Maximum Prison, to come to die in freedom.”
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