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Alarm as village loses nine young people to suicide in ten months

In an alarming and heartbreaking trend yet spoken in hushed tones, dreams and ambitions are being buried in the sleepy Kamahuha Ward of Murang’a County as the number of young people committing suicide continues to rise by the day.

Nine sons and daughters of this village have been buried with all their ambitions in the last ten months. Seven of these are males while two are females aged between 12 and 29 years of age.

KNA visited the bereaved families to establish what really transpired to cause their loved ones to commit suicide and how they are coping with life after the untimely and sudden demise of their kin.

Joseph Murigi Njogu was laid to rest on August 23, 2023 after committing suicide a week earlier.  As the flowers on his grave slowly wither, so is his family’s hope of ever getting justice for their son who was frustrated to the extent of committing suicide.

His mother Margaret Wanjiku solemnly narrates the events leading to her last-born son’s death.

“My son fell in love with a girl from the neighborhood who would frequent this homestead, so we knew her,” she says. “We, however, cannot ascertain when the love relationship turned sour because Murigi was quite introverted,” she adds.

The family only realized that something was amiss in July when reports of him having been arrested and detained at the Saba Saba Police Station reached them.

It later emerged that their son had separated from the girl who, according to the family was using her association with someone at the police station to get him arrested, detained and harassed.

“They accused him of spreading the ex-girlfriend’s nude pictures despite the fact that my son had been sent those very pictures by the girl’s boyfriend just to spite him,” notes Wanjiku.

At the police station, the family alleges that no charges were pressed against him but they were asked to part with Sh30,000 of which they raised half of it with the balance to be paid days later.

The 29-year-old Mount Kenya University Bachelor of Business Management Banking and Finance graduate was released on Thursday evening and went to his rented house in Kaharati notifying his family that the following day Friday he would be attending an interview in Nyeri since he had plans of seeking greener pastures outside the country.

“At 10 pm on Thursday, he called me to say he was in the house but apparently he left on Friday very early and boarded a matatu to Nanyuki where he rented a hotel room and committed suicide using a sisal rope.

The family received the heartbreaking news on Saturday asking them to immediately report at the police station in Nanyuki.

His last Facebook post on the day he committed suicide reveals a deeply troubled man as he asked his family to forgive him for failing them and that he had sacrificed his life for true love.

Joseph Murigi’s mother Ms. Margaret Wanjiku at his gravesite in Kamahuha, Murang’a County

He further narrated the sacrifices he had to make for the love of his life who instead betrayed him with infidelity, harassment and extortion.

“You know very well I have fed you, bought you clothing, nurtured you, paid fees for you for the last two years and to some extent aided your mother and brother with food,” reads part of the suicide note.

Murigi’s mother tearfully regrets that had they noticed signs of distress earlier, they would have rescued their son who was a humble, kind, obedient and peace-loving person with dreams and ambitions.

A few metres from Wanjiku’s homestead is another family that is yet to come to terms with their 12-year-old son’s death. Ken Mwangi was a class seven pupil at Wathiani Primary School and took his life on December 8, 2022.

His clearly devastated father Mr. Fredrick Ngugi notes that his son did not show any signs of distress as he was a very outgoing and jovial child.

“He wanted to be a pilot and was very talented in football, on the day he committed suicide I was away and he was in charge of the construction going on at home by then,” he says.

“We talked on the phone from time to time and even sent him to get some materials that the fundis needed, all was well,” adds Ngugi.

“He was with his three siblings and their mother, who after preparing the family’s evening meal went to take a shower only to come back and find Mwangi’s lifeless body hanging from the roof of his room,’’ the teary father says.

Ngugi notes that they are yet to find closure and need help to come to terms with the death of their second-born child.

In yet another homestead, KNA finds the parents of Peter Mungai whose lifeless body was found hanging on a tree in a nearby bush on July 1, 2023.

His death according to a 5-page suicide note he left behind is attributed to a famous televangelist whom he sent huge sums of money with a promise to turn his life around.

In the note seen by KNA, the deceased has tabulated all the amounts he sent to the televangelist on diverse dates all totaling to Sh118,897.

“He had been promised that his business would thrive and he would have a family so he kept sending money to the Pastor and in return owed many people huge sums of money,” says his father Mr. Joseph Kamuri.

Part of the suicide note where he has also listed the televangelist’s three phone numbers and names and the channel he appears on reads as such:

“Imagine I had money but I couldn’t know how I gave it out, this is not God’s plan

From his tabulations, the amounts he sent conspicuously range from Sh299 to Sh24,999 and the father confirms that on the day he took his life, he had called and asked his brother to lend him Sh11,000 which he declined because he still owed him some money.

“We have not found closure; the Pastor should be stopped because what he is doing is akin to Shakahola,” he says.

These stories have been replicated in six other homesteads across Kamahuha ward.

The DCC Murang’a South Mr. Gitonga Murungi, while saddened by the unfortunate loss of young productive lives, notes that some of the mitigation measures his administration is carrying out involve public forums through the NGAOs to sensitize parents and encourage young people to speak out and seek help.

By Florence Kinyua


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