Kwale, KENYA:Standing tall and high with its iron rusted sheet and well designed wood door frames with Swahili carving is ‘Jumba la MUBARUK’, locally known by the villagers in Gazi area in Kwale county as the oldest and the first prison that was used by Arabs before the colonial era.
The locals believe that the building which has lasted for more than 200 years has several rooms that were used as administration and three cells where the prisoners were kept.
Mr. Idi Bomani who is the village elder at Gazi area, says that the prison which had been operational since Kenya got independence, has since remained to be a historical site that is forgotten and unknown to many.
He said that, despite its existence at the area and situated near the Indian Ocean, little is known about its existence.
“When I was born and grew up, our parents told us that Jumba la Mubaruk is a prison that was used by Arabs to prosecute those who went against law. In the years between 50’s and 60’s, I witnessed some people being prosecuted here. People from Lungalunga, Kwale, Ng’ombeni and Ukunda they were all being sentenced and prosecuted here.” He said.
He added that the prison lost its credibility after Kenya’s independence in 1963.
“This court was abandoned after in dependence and the new modern courts were built in Kwale town that is where up to date court cases are handled”.
Mrs. Riziki Baya, a resident, says that the ruin is not profitable to them because its not famous.
“As locals we expected to benefit from this ruin through getting tourists who would visit and get rich history about it. Unfortunately, nothing much has been done by county government and national museum of Kenya. We are responsible to take care of it ourselves”. She blamed.