Bitter lesson: Wrongly sentenced to death, DJ Willis is free after 20 years

Dj Willis
Willis Opondo. [Photo: YouTube]

When the old saying “justice will always prevail” was coined, Willis Opondo never thought that he would one day be clinging onto it as his last hope while in prison.

Opondo’s story is sad to say the least. He spent 20 years – most of his youthful life – at the Nakuru GK Prison for a crime he never committed. He had been condemned to death for robbery with violence.

Today, he is a free man, thanks to Inooro TV who first visited him in jail where he narrated what happened and how he ended up in a blue prison garb for 20 years.

Through a popular programme “Njera-ini ciitu”, Opondo is now back with his family. He is living with his brother in Ruiru.

Before his arrest, he had been working as a disc jockey (DJ). He was jailed during the era of former President Daniel Moi when he was just 20 years old.

He recalls the hard life he went through as a death row prisoner.

“In 24 hours, we would only get 30 minutes to bask in the sun. The next 23 years, we were inside a room measuring 6 by 4 and we were 10 people,” he narrated.

In what is one of the saddest narrations by ex-convicts, he recalled having to brush his teeth with soap because he could not get toothpaste which comes with visitations.

“Getting soap was a problem. The small piece of a bar soap is what I would bathe with, wash clothes with. This bar soap is what I brushed my teeth with because people are not coming.”

He lived in Mathare before he was arrested. He was at the time working as a DJ with King Lion Sounds Promotions.

Opondo was stationed in one of the clubs in the city known as Achievers. He loved entertaining people.

It is in club Achievers that his road to 20 years in prison began. He offers that he has been to Kamiti, Shimo la Tewa, King’ongo, Kodiaga, Kibos, Naivasha, Kericho and Manyani prisons as he served his death sentence.

Opondo explains that one of the revellers gave him a jacket which he put on and continued paying music for the crowd.

When it was time to leave, one of the revellers spotted him with the jacket and raised alarm that it was the same jacket he was wearing when he was robbed Ksh470.

People ran away and not knowing what was happening, he took off as the last person but it was too late; a crowd had gathered and they pounced on him with anger.

He was beaten to a pulp and later whisked to the police station unconscious.

When he was arraigned in court, the magistrate sent him to the gallows without remorse.

After his story was aired by Inooro TV some time back, the case went back to the High Court and the judge quashed it citing that it lacked merit.

Opondo is glad to be out although he lost his wife but is happy that he has a daughter who he cherishes.

Not bitter about his wife remarrying, he is now requesting for a job. He has been trained in carpentry and upholstery, first aid by St John Ambulance, store keeping, paralegals studies and counselling.