Inmates beauty contest lights up Lang’ata prison

A woman accused of killing her boyfriend by stabbing him 22 times has been declared the most beautiful in Kenya’s largest women’s prison.

Ruth Kamande shot to infamy in October last year when she was charged with attacking her boyfriend.

On Wednesday evening, she shot to fame when she trounced 19 other contestants to win the Miss Lang’ata Women’s Prison beauty pageant.

The 21-year-old wowed image consultant Robert Burale with her stunning beauty as well as her ability to sing.

In the professional wear category, she stepped out as a singer while the other contestants chose more conventional careers.

Tina Martin, a Tanzanian facing drug smuggling charges, was the first runners-up. Susan Wairimu who is facing robbery with violence, was third.

If found guilty, Ruth and Susan could face a date with the hangman. Robbery with violence and murder are considered capital offences punishable by death.

If Tina is fund guilty, she faces  the possibility of a 10-year prison sentence.


The Nairobi Woman Representative, Mrs Rachel Shebesh, who was the chief guest, offered to pay bail for 20 inmates serving short terms for petty offences like loitering.

They walked free yesterday afternoon. Mrs Shebesh said the law should be amended to allow such prisoners to serve external sentences.

“It does not make sense to remand petty offenders like these ones just because they cannot pay bail,” she said.

“Hopefully you will keep out of trouble,” she told the women as they walked to freedom.

The annual beauty pageant is part of prison rehabilitation. Prisons officers held a parallel pageant. Inspector of Prisons Doreen Ombati won in that category.

The officer in charge of the prison, Ms Olivia Obel, described the annual event as an opportunity for the inmates to explore their talents. It is also an avenue for them to interact with outsiders.

“We hope society will accept them when they leave here without stigmatising them because they have seen there is beauty with a purpose in prisons,” she said.

Photos of the event circulated on the social media went viral about the beauty and talent in Kenya’s prisons.

Others failed to understand the buzz created by the event while the rest made fun of it. Still, the prison was trending on Twitter the whole day.

“What is the fuss about a beautiful Lang’ata Women’s prison inmate? Are inmates not humans and are criminals ugly by default?” twitted Samuel Komen.

“Soon texts will be coming to your phone saying that the sender is an inmate at Lang’ata Women’s Prison, seeking help with her modelling career,” said Titus Bahati.