4 Suicides a Day in Central Kenya: Why people are seeking solace in Death

By Virginia Mwangi / May 15, 2019

Central Kenya is mourning at least five lives lost through suicides every day and causing alarm among residents and leaders in the region.

The region is in a crisis and it requires urgent reawakening to save the lives of residents who seem deeply sunk in depression according to police records.

Nyeri County has an average of four deaths through suicide every day while Kirinyaga County has one death every day through suicide. In Murang’a County, at least four people take their own lives every week with Mathioya River and Maragua being viewed as death traps as youth between 20-35 years drown themselves.

Nyeri hence has at least 120 deaths every month with most taking their lives through hanging or drowning in rivers.

Male Suicides on the Rise in Central Kenya

Men in Central Kenya face a number of known challenges that could be reflecting on the huge number of their suicides.

Out of the 120 suicides committed in Nyeri, the majority are men who take poison, hang themselves or drown themselves in dams.

READ ALSO: 4.8 Million Kenyans Will Be Suffering from Kidney Disease by 2030 

Possible Causes

Challenges facing the Nyeri man are a little bit unique from other Counties and are slowly driving them to a crisis. These challenges among others include:

  • Concentration on empowering the Girl-child Left the Boy-Child Abandoned

It is an open secret that the girl child in Kenya is empowered, this is mostly witnessed in Central Kenya and would be positive if the boy was also empowered to be able to relate with an empowered girl.

The concentration on empowering the girl became too much that the boy seemed to have been neglected and lacked sufficient guidance and empowerment. The girl felt powerful as the boy’s self-esteem got crashed yet a boy is born to be a man and lead.

The role of an African man to provide ought to have changed when the girl-child got empowered but it did not and now the man from Central Kenya is struggling to provide for a demanding woman who knows her rights and not responsibilities.

  • Drug Abuse

Drug abuse, especially alcohol, has been a problem in Central Kenya for the last one decade attracting intervention from the National Government.

A majority of men in Central Kenya are referred to as ‘Daily Drinking Officer’ (DDO). They start their day with cheap liquor to clear the hangover and cannot stop hence drink the day away.

The Daily Drinking Officers cannot sire children as they have no time to spend with their wives while those that already have children cannot guide their sons on the role of a man in a family as they are ever absent.

Some are depressed and following abject poverty, their family members are too busy seeking the next meal that they are not able to detect.

The men finally begin to realize that life passed when they were in their drinking dens and that the frustrations keep on recurring. They watch the miles their age mates covered while they lay in their drunken stupor and the reality, the embarrassment, overwhelms them driving them to commit suicide.

  • Unemployment

Unemployment in Central Kenya is just as rife as in the rest of the country, but the problem is most prevalent amongst men in the region.

It is easier to find a young man who is lost and has no idea where to start than to find a woman of the same age.

Employment, whether self or not, ensures one has a purposeful life and has something to look forward to each day. Shopping centers in Central Kenya are littered with men ranging between 18-35 years of age hanging around playing cards while some drink to drown the frustrations.

Lack of empowerment denies a human being the self believe they require to start up any beneficial project.

  • Domestic Violence

When a man in a family is depressed, the wife is likely to always be on the receiving end which results in domestic violence.

When a man is unable to provide for his family as is expected of him by the society, he is made to look and feel weak by the woman who the society has empowered, and ought to be expected to rise to the occasion when a man is not able without shaming him.

SEE ALSO: List of Top Depressed Countries in Africa as World Marks Mental Health Awareness Month 

Suicides in Meru

Meru County is also experiencing a high suicide rate with a majority being that of estranged lovers.

Early May, decomposing bodies of a male and female student of Kenya Methodist University (KEMU) were found in an apartment. The body of Ms. Ann Kanario Kaura, 21, was found lying on the bed in a pool of blood with stab wounds on the thigh, while the man’s body, which had a deep cut on the left thigh, was found dangling from the roof.

The man was suspected to have killed his girlfriend, Ms. Kanario, before committing suicide. The matter is still under investigations.

On 1st March Ms. Fridah Makena, a 20-year old student at Meru National Polytechnic recorded herself as she swallowed multiple tablets in a suspected suicide attempt. She was found unconscious by her friends and died three days later.

Millicent Kithinji Mwiriki, at only 28 years of age chose to die after receiving a heartbreaking text message from her lover who was also her baby daddy leaving behind a beautiful 3-year-old daughter.

Millicent posted the plans to take her life on Facebook and sought forgiveness from her father and young daughter.

Leaders Speaking on the Suicides

“Is it domestic violence? Is it in connection with the land? Why is it that it’s mostly men killing themselves? These are the answers we can get from the leaders and try to stop the trend,” Kirinyaga County Commissioner Jim Njoka questions.

Mount Kenya leaders have been in the recent months, however, been too busy scrambling for President Uhuru’s attention that they are not able to notice the crisis in their background. The burden to salvage the situation in Central Kenya has hence been left to the Church, regional administration and fate.

The Nyeri Police Commander Ali Nuno confirms that the number is shocking and something needs to be done swiftly to remedy the situation.

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Family members need to watch out on signs of depression and withdrawal from their kin. The Government continues to mock Kenyans on matters of unemployment and guidance and support on start-ups should be introduced.

Counseling ought to be freely availed in public hospitals and the public ought to be made aware of the services available.

There is a need to empower the boy child to also protect the girl child to ensure they are in a position to relate later in relations. An empowered girl-child also ought to be made aware of their responsibilities.

Guidance and counseling ought to be introduced in all learning institutions and be felt to work. The law should be properly implemented to save the lives of Kenyan youth especially men who are most affected.

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