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Why former Nation columnist contemplated suicide

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BY OLIVIA MUNGWANA

Former Daily Nation columnist Rasna Warah has admitted contemplating committing suicide but says her situation has since improved.

Warah sent shock waves among her fans when she tweeted on Tuesday seeking tips on how to commit suicide.

Many of Warah’s fans called on family and close acquaintances to reach out to her to establish if she was OK, saying her death would be a big blow to those who have been reading her articles and books.

“Thank you to all those who reached out to me when it seemed like the sky was falling on my head. I guess like an old battered car, I just broke down, for no apparent reason. The cloud has lifted. I am fine. Just a little disoriented. Your kindness has really touched me. Really,” she tweeted a day later.

Warah is among eight columnists who quit writing for Nation Media Group early this year citing lack of editorial independence.

Her tweet came barely a week after the world marked the 15th World Suicide Prevention Day. World Health Organisation 2016 statistics indicate that suicide is the second-leading cause of death among those 15–29 years old.

Evidence demonstrates it is a global issue, with more than 79 per cent of suicides occurring in low and middle-income countries.But if Warah’s case is anything to go by, suicide has no age-limit.

So serious is the issue that there is a campaign to have media outlets change their style books to replace the phrase ‘commit suicide’ with alternatives, such as ‘died by suicide.’

Experts say that many suicides happen impulsively during moments of crisis. These can include “a breakdown in the ability to deal with life stresses, such as financial problems, relationship break-up or chronic pain and illness,” the WHO said in a report, released August 2018. Despite stigma around the subject, suicides are often preventable.

“Joining together is critical to preventing suicide,” the International Association for Suicide Prevention  (IASP), which partnered with WHO to launch the event in 2003, stresses.

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Will Obado get bail today?

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Migori Governor Okoth Obado returns to court today seeking to be released on bail pending trial for the murder of university student Sharon Otieno.

Obado has denied charges of murdering Sharon on September 3 at Kodera Forest in Oyugis, Homa Bay County.

Obado, his personal assistant Michael Oyamo and Migori County clerk Caspal Obiero are jointly chargedwith the murder of Sharon and her seven-month-old foetus, Baby Sharon.

The governor has been in custody since September 22.

Political career

His fate lies in the hands of Lady Justice Jessie Lesiit, who can either rule to release him and his co-accused on bail or send them back to remand.

Should the judge deny them bail, it would compound matters for Obado and further threaten his political career.

Justice Lesiit had declined Obado’s first application for bail on September 27. In his second application, Obado pleaded through lawyers Nicholas Ombija, Cliff Ombeta and Rodgers Sagana for the judge to reconsider her earlier decision.

The lawyers are optimistic that their client will be granted bail this time.

“The main reason he was denied bail was because the prosecution had not supplied the committal bundle and exhibits they will rely on. But since all these have been supplied, there is no compelling reason to deny him bail again,” said Ombija.

Mr Ombija submitted that Obado’s continued detention at Industrial Area Remand Prison had caused him and his family much suffering. He said Obado would not interfere with witnesses if released.

The lawyers said the governor was facing serious health problems that could only be addressed if he was out on bail.

“He has a severe spinal problem, which needs constant medical attention. Since the prosecution has secured all evidence, the governor has no intention of interfering with anyone and will abide by all conditions set by the court,” said Mr Sagana.

Neville Amollo, the lawyer for Oyamo, accused the prosecution of using evidence reserved for trial to deny the accused bail. He urged the court to disregard the materials since they did not constitute any compelling reason to warrant his client’s continued detention.

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Monica murder: GSU officer to become witness

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The General Service Unit officer arrested over the murder of businesswoman Monica Kimani is likely to become a witness.

Police officers investigating the killing of the 28-year-old have concluded that Mr Jennings Orlando, 31, did not visit Monica’s house on September 19.

The officers have visited various places with Orlando as part of their investigations. These include his place of work, at the Recce Squad headquarters in Ruiru, a bar along Denis Pritt Road, a petrol station and the scene of the murder.

TV journalist Jacque Maribe and her fiancé, Joseph Irungu aka Jowie, have denied a murder charge and are expected in court today for the hearing of their bail application.

Orlando was arrested on Thursday and presented in court, which allowed the police to detain him for 14 days. Sources said Orlando was among officers attached to the US embassy and was a member of the Special Programme for Embassy Augmentation and Response.

This is a team composed of GSU officers whose mission is to respond to critical incidents involving US mission facilities and personnel in the country.

Monica’s body was found in a bathtub with her throat slit. The police suspect she had been drugged. The murder weapon has yet to be recovered.

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Traces of cotton left in woman abdomen after operation

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When Irene Joyce Oluoch, 25, got pregnant with twins, she could hardly wait to hold them in her arms.

On the due date, she checked into the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu for a caesarean section.

“l went through the operation and all was well. I was soon discharged from the hospital and was home with my twins,” says Mrs Oluoch.

As she settled down to raising her babies, nothing could have prepared her for the health problems that lay ahead.

Traces of cotton, which had been left in her abdomen, would make her life miserable, and in devastated state.

“After six days, l started feeling a sharp pain in my lower abdomen. At first I thought it was normal to feel pains in the stomach considering I was healing after going through an operation,” says the mother of four.

Her condition got worse and soon she was grappling with a severe and prolonged coughing fit besides intense chest pains.

“I had to go back to the same hospital, where I went through a series of tests that yielded nothing,” she says, adding that she was taken to the intensive care unit when she developed breathing difficulties.

She spent three days at the ICU and another two weeks in the general ward.

“I had severe pains in the lower abdomen, and breathing difficulties, forcing me to use an inhaler. The coughs could last for five minutes, while my body swelled whenever I had a meal. I just couldn’t understand what was happening in my body,” says the second-hand shoe-seller, who had to abandon her source of livelihood because of her ill health.

She adds: “After consulting several specialists in Kisumu, a doctor recommended a CT scan and an examination of the lower abdomen.”

Her husband, Mr Bernard Oluoch, says the specialist was reluctant to reveal to them the results of the scan, “but he finally told us there were traces of cotton in the lower abdomen which needed an urgent surgical operation.”

“We went to the referral hospital with the results, and the doctor in charge scheduled the operation after a month, but it is now seven months since my wife started developing these complications,” says Mr Oluoch. The security guard quit his job to take care of his wife and children.

The couple are asking well-wishers to help them get medical attention.

According to the hospital boss, Dr Peter Okoth, the delay in attending to Mrs Oluoch was caused by the need to investigate the case and check the history of the patient.

“We are arranging to have the patient back in hospital because of the complications that have emerged,” he says.

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