What you need to know:
- Moses Dola is serving a 10-year sentence for an offence, initially of murder, but reduced to manslaughter.
- Mr Dola’s predicament stems from an event that shocked the nation over a decade ago on May 1, 2011.
- It is while in prison that he decided to start advocating against GBV through his organisation, Rekebisha Trust.
“I am in prison, serving a 10-year sentence for an offence, initially of murder, but reduced to manslaughter. It happened that the victim in this case was my spouse,” says Moses Dola as we settle down for an interview at Kiambu GK Prison.
For a man whose routine involved moving around freely and rubbing shoulders with the high and mighty as he went about his job, Mr Dola a journalist, has had to contend with the highly regulated prison life.
The most painful bits for him are losing his better half – rising NTV reporter Sarah Wambui Kabiru – which led to his imprisonment, being separated from his son for 11 years now, and missing his mother’s funeral in July last year.
“There is no single day that passes without me thinking of the events of that fateful day. To have lost a person that I called a spouse and partner really had an effect on me,” says Mr Dola.
“She was my strength, especially being in the tough media field doing investigative reporting. She used to encourage me a lot, especially when I had to come up with the number one stories on TV bulletins; she would tell me to go for it,” he adds.
Mr Dola’s predicament stems from an event that shocked the nation over a decade ago on May 1, 2011.
Court records indicate that the young couple had squabbled over Mr Dola’s decision to play loud music on a Sunday morning when his wife and two-year-old son were still in bed.
While testifying before High Court Judge Roselyne Korir in 2017, Mr Dola said his wife was infuriated by the loud music, which woke them up.
In a fit of rage, it is reported that Wambui picked up a pair of scissors and aimed them at Mr Dola when he went into the bedroom. As he struggled to snatch them, they both fell onto the bed where the TV presenter hit her head on the wooden headboard.
“Sasa ona venye umeniumiza,” (Now see, you have hurt me) Wambui said to her husband before she went silent. Those were her last words.
“Because we fell on the mattress, I did not realise that the injury was fatal,” he said during the trial. He then took their son for breakfast and left her in bed.
Mr Dola then went to his brother-in-law’s house to seek his help in reconciling with his wife before they went out for a drink.
But after Wambui’s body was discovered in their bed in the same position she was left in the morning, he became a fugitive, before turning himself in at the Naivasha Police Station three days later.
While delivering her ruling in 2018, Justice Korir noted that Mr Dola was a stronger party in the fight that led to the death of his partner and was, therefore, culpable.
She found him guilty of manslaughter and sentenced him to 10 years behind the bars – a lenient punishment considering the maximum term for murder is life imprisonment.
To take responsibility for his actions, he chose not to challenge the verdict issued by Justice Korir.
Having served his four years in prison already, Mr Dola says he is looking forward to leaving in the near future a transformed person.
“I have gone through a transformation process, my stay in prison has gifted me with a lot of virtues and skills and having undergone a counselling course. Probably, had I been equipped with these previously, my spouse would still be around,” says Mr Dola.
It is while in prison that Mr Dola decided to start advocating against gender-based violence (GBV) through his organisation, Rekebisha Trust.
The trust came to be shortly after he was incarcerated, starting out with four leaders and more than 20 members, some in prison while others were former inmates.
“I trace the start of the organisation to 2014 when I started working to minimise and effect change on GBV issues,” he says. “Some of the inmates have already left prison and have continued running the organisation,” he says.
Rekebisha holds events, especially during the 16 Days of Activism against GBV, to educate the public and inmates on why the need to refrain from violence.
“For me, as a person who has been convicted for a gender-based violence offence, it is the best I can do to effect change,” he says.
He adds: “In 2019, we successfully held the Mr Nairobi West beauty pageant, tackling issues related to GBV. We conducted the event within the 16 Days of Activism against GBV,” he says.
Then came Covid-19 in 2020, which saw the organisation temporarily halt its activities.
In 2021, they held yet another event, Mr Kiambu Prison pageant, to create awareness against GBV among inmates.
“Under Rekebisha, we are not only looking at doing events in the prisons and community, we are also keen on the root cause of GBV. I tend to think that there is minimal provision of counselling services to persons or couples experiencing GBV,” says Mr Dola.
“Once I am out of prison, we are looking forward to building counselling centres across the 47 counties, where we will be giving psychological help to victims and families. We do not have to wait until a victim appears to bring change,” he adds.
His hope, he explains, is that his organisation will reach all members of the community.
Mr Dola explains that his main agenda after leaving prison is to make peace with his in-laws and find time to sit with his son who is now 13 and explain to him what really transpired.
“Sarah’s family was also my family, I cannot just walk off saying I have served my sentence and there is nothing else I am looking forward to; I am looking forward to reconciliation,” he concludes.