We have all heard of scary narrations on how male prisoners are turned into ‘wives’ by their counterparts who are serving long term sentences.
Although it may be true to some extent it is not practiced in broad daylight Omar Ismael, 64, a former Manyani inmate said,
‘Homosexuality is not practiced in the open because it is severely punished.’
Punishment includes being secluded in a separate room without bedding or blankets.
“The lawbreakers are secluded and sleep on the cold floor.
They are also served half meals while in solitary confinement.”
In extreme cases, such as assault, you are only served ugali and salty water for lunch and supper while in solitary confinement.
If the offence is minor, warders beat you thoroughly with a mace or a whip.
Prisoners ‘bid’ for new inmates with the highest bidder turning the ‘newbie’ in as his wife.
“There is a prisoner in charge of allocating sleeping quarters to new inmates.
When you come in as first-timer and are still in the holding area, the prisoners in charge — we call them ‘Overall’— will be bribed with amounts ranging from Sh300 to Sh500,” Stephen recalls.
The highest bidder will have the new prisoner assigned to his cell.
“Their preference is usually young, ‘yellow-yellow,’ plump men who are in prison for the first time,” Stephen says.
When you get to the cell, which is usually full, your ‘husband’ will let you share his mattress, food and cigarettes.
But come night, you will have to pay back.”