News of the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma has been met with mixed reaction, even some tinge of envy in Kenya.

On the streets of the capital Nairobi, where the SABC News crew sought views, Kenyans were surprised that a former head of state could be thrown behind bars. While some saw it as precedent-setting, others felt it was disrespectful.

“I am very surprised. Zuma is a freedom fighter. Not a good show to our leaders, set him free,” one resident told SABC News.

“I do not know if Kenya can reach that level unless the old people leave politics and we get young people,” said another Kenyan.

“In Kenya, it’s even worse because we support our criminals and we do not allow them to go to prison. Never happened. I believe it is possible, one day when we get mad at all of these idiots,” adds another resident.

International relations expert Professor Macharia Munene says Zuma failed to read the mood of the nation.

“He should have learned from his predecessor Nelson Mandela, alaw-abiding citizen.”

He admits that while there is likely to be a fallout within the ruling party, it is also a lesson to those in positions of power.

“He joins a team of previous presidents…ousted.”

Munene, however, says this week’s events in South Africa will ignite debate on whether former presidents should be granted immunity from prosecution.

Zuma handed himself to begin serving his jail term on Wednesday night.

Kenya reacts to incarceration of Zuma: