Raila Odinga has asked the courts to unconditionally release a man jailed for shoplifting at a local supermarket.
The seasoned politician, who is considered among the front runners in the race to succeed President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of the August 2022 polls, made the appeal on his Twitter page.
The appeal was in response to a story published by Nation.Africa and Nairobi News websites.
Let Alvin Linus Chivondo be released unconditionally!.
Criminals are now getting a reprieve to campaign freely, while petty offenders are being jailed.
Let the courts get their priorities right, for once, you can’t jail a man for trying to feed his family. pic.twitter.com/64DKaFo6It
— Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) April 13, 2022
The Azimio presidential candidate argued that petty offenders like Chivondo are jailed while politicians with ongoing graft cases are allowed to campaign freely.
“Let the courts get their priorities right, for once, you can’t jail a man for trying to feed his family,” he tweeted.
Odinga’s comments come days after the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) announced he will not prosecute politicians charged with graft until after the polls.
The announcement has not only been challenged by civil society in court but also attracted widespread criticism.
Despite repeated pleas to be pardoned, Chivondo was slapped with a one-year jail term by the Milimani Law Courts after he was found guilty of lifting items valued at Sh3165 at Naivas Supermarket in Nairobi.
The judgment allows him to secure his freedom if he pays a Sh100,000 fine.
He’d pleaded guilty to stealing 5kgs of rice, 5 litres of cooking oil, and 2kgs of sugar among other items saying he was forced into the act of stealing as he’d not eaten for days.
Chief Magistrate Ms Wendy Kagendo, while delivering the judgment, noted the accused was not a first offender, and that she’d pardoned four other suspects for stealing from the supermarket.
“The accused is being dishonest, he’s made a habit of shoplifting. The court will not be lenient to deter him and others from reaping where they have not sowed, ” she said.
The Kenyan laws do not have a provision that allows convicts to be released on orders of any politician other than the President.