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Gov’t launches ‘Baraza La Wanaume Program’

Kisii Central Sub-County Deputy County Commissioner Mr Wilberforce Kilonzo has led other National Government officers to start “Baraza La Wanaume Program” to minimize and eradicate suicide after 14 men and a 14-year old boy committed suicide in 2020 alone in the same sub-county.

Speaking to a male-only gathering at Riangabi sub-location, Kerera location in the same sub-county, Mr Kilonzo said the program will offer men a platform to speak out their personal and marital problems that may lead to suicidal thoughts.

“Two people committed suicide last month in one weekend when I was on leave. If someone kills himself today and another one the following day, is that really good? I told my colleagues to look for a solution one of which we are presenting today,” said Kilonzo.

The Deputy County Commissioner highlighted that failing to listen to the young generation is among major causes of suicide cases in the country.

He also noted that 60 percent of inmates at Kisii Main Prison are male sexual offenders and cautioned men against engaging in such crimes.

“Whenever I go to that prison, I feel heartbroken because youths as young as 18 and 19 are very many there. You should be aware that the penalty for sexual offenses is very heavy and you can be jailed for life, especially when you defile a child aged 7 or younger,” Kilonzo added.

Dr Ruth Mokaya, psychologist and Head of Gender and Mental Health in Kisii County Government, blamed modern circumcision for the deterioration of values among young men that lead to poor decision-making, urging elders to return to the old ways of guiding young males about their relationship with females during the circumcision process.

“If we discipline our children before the age of six years, we will not experience indiscipline and poor decisions they are currently making. Parents should also avoid blaming one another for their children’s behavior but they should cooperate to guide them when they feel something is wrong with them,” Dr Mokaya advised.

Mokaya also called for men empowerment to help them regain the head of family status which some of them lost to women, leading to distress and ignoring responsibility among men.

Timothy Magoma Otiso, a Chief Clinical Officer at Ibeno Hospital, advised parents to address their children’s complaints, linking the death of a 14-year old that occurred in the area as a result of the child’s fear of punishment at school.

“When your children want to transfer from one school to another, do not ignore. Follow up with their current schools and understand the problem. Talk with them and find a long-lasting solution,” Mr Otiso said.

Riangabi sub-location residents led by James Makori, Dennis Ochola, Evans Nyagaka, and Justus Nyaundi laid blame on the frustration by family members, substance and alcohol abuse, loans, humiliation by friends, relationship break-ups, and fear of academic failure as major causes of suicide cases among men in their area.

The residents agreed to address to share their problems with friends and counsellors to avoid suicidal thoughts.

The Deputy County Commissioner was also accompanied by Keumbu ward Assistant County Commissioner, Mr Joshua Muthoka and Riangabi location chief and sub-location chiefs.

By Erastus Michieka and Jefferson Volka


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