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How I overcame suicide thrice



Befrienders Kenya, an organisation that offers free counselling services to those at risk of taking their own lives, receives at least 100 distress calls and 300 emails every month.

Majority of those that make this crisis contact are young people between teenage hood and the early 30s.

Hiram Chomba, a psychotherapist who specialises in suicidology and who is part of the team that formed the organisation in 2007, says this year alone their website has received 78,600 visits already.

This translates to an average of over 1,000 visits per day. Last year, the site recorded 219,809 visits.

“Most of those that reach out to us are young people. The recurring issue many cite is relational difficulties with their parents, and majority of them come from single-parent backgrounds.

“These young people have lots of self-esteem issues, which in turn lead to relational difficulty with peers and the opposite sex,” Chomba explains.

There is a rise in the number of students in high school seeking their services, sometimes without their parent’s knowledge, he adds.

Another common trigger of suicidal thoughts, citing those that contact their organisation, is financial difficulty. Though this is more common among the middle-aged.

The most common trigger of suicidal thoughts, however, is mental illness. “Most cases of suicidal ideation are attributed to mental illness, particularly depression, which accounts for about 70 per cent of the cases we come across. Thinking of, or planning suicide, is indicative of untreated or undiagnosed depression,” says Chomba, adding that the number of Kenyans committing suicide has increased.

Kenya does not have a national surveillance strategy to track suicides, neither does it have a national strategy for suicide prevention, which means that the numbers could be higher than reported.

Besides social-economic reasons, Chomba says, other reasons that may cause people to become suicidal are shared social and genetic vulnerabilities.

This means that some suicides run in families. “We have counselled individuals that have lost several relatives to suicide; the most extreme case I have come across is that of a woman whose three daughters committed suicide — there’s a genetic predisposition of suicide in some families, suicide can be familial,” he says.

Overall, there is a strong correlation between parental abuse, neglect and depression in adolescence, which can progress leading to suicidal ideation and attempted suicide.

“However, there is no one single reason that explains suicide because there’s an interaction of factors within and outside the person,” he says Mr Chomba.

To better prevent suicide, there is need to assess risks surrounding persons or areas which have reported suicides and assess demographics, for example, unemployment

The fact is that there are suicides that are situation-specific; some have genetic disposition, others are propelled by socioeconomic factors while a number are philosophical suicides. This is derived from absurdism.

The premise is that life is absurd and meaningless, therefore not worth living.

Anjeyo Ananda, 30, for instance, attempted suicide thrice. The first time was in 2017. He was 29 years old.

He had a job with an international company that paid well, but it was a demanding one, he says. “I would wake up at 4am every day to get to work by 5am,” he says.

But a demanding job is not the only burden that Anjeyo was carrying.

He had planned to have married and started a family by the time he was 28, but at 30 he had no girlfriend.

He had a daughter from a previous relationship. Around that time he met someone who he thought was “the one” and they began to live together.

“It turned out to be a mistake. The relationship had lots of emotional baggage that I wasn’t ready for. For instance, if I spoke to any of my female friends we would have a fight. I had pressure at work and pressure at home. I was tired; my body was shutting down. I was unwell,” he says.

But he kept it to himself. “Society expects men to soldier on whatever they are going through. We are taught to put on a tough front even when we’re dying inside. That is what I did. I bottled it up and pretended that all was well,” he says.

On March 6 2017, he broke down. He was tired of the constant pressure at work, his unhappy relationship and the mental turmoil.

In short, he was tired of life, and so he decided to end it. “I planned to jump into the path of a speeding motorcycle; there are many of those where I live in Mwiki (on the outskirts of Nairobi).

“If I died, my death would be reported as a hit and run, not suicide. I waited by the roadside for almost two hours, but curiously, not even one motorcycle passed by. I gave up and went back home.”

The following day, Anjeyo broke up with his girlfriend and resigned from his job. “I just could not take it anymore,” he says.

He was however confident that his savings and benefits were enough to tide him over a couple of months until he got a new job.

He did manage to get a job, but his new employer was unable to pay him. “By the time I resigned three months later, I hadn’t been paid a single cent.”

It is around this time that he attempted suicide for the second time.

“My savings had run out and I had no job yet I had rent and my daughter’s school fees to pay, but there seemed to be no way out. One day, I overdosed on pain medication that I took once in a while for a sports-related injury, sure that I would die in my sleep. When I woke up the following day I was very angry that my plan had not succeeded.”

The Christmas of December 2017 was the worst Anjeyo has ever had. “I had nothing. I could not afford rent and food. I had insomnia. I would go for days without sleep. And then what I dreaded happened — my landlord gave me an eviction notice. I was drowning and I could see no way out.”

On January 30, 2018, he attempted suicide for the third time.

He tried to jump off the balcony of the fifth floor of the building where he lived, only for him to fall backwards instead of forward.

“I totally broke down that day and decided to ask for help. Not from people I knew. I went on Twitter and unburdened myself. I requested for Sh26,800 to enable me pay my rent arrears. My burden felt lighter afterwards, and for the first time in many months, I slept.”

He had no idea what he expected when he went public, but he certainly did not expect the generosity he got from total strangers.

The money kept coming. And by the time it stopped he had over Sh200,000. Someone even offered to pay his daughter’s school fees for a year. “She’ll sit her KCPE exams this year,” he says.

Since he opened up, Anjeyo has never stopped talking. And it has done him a world of good.

“My turn around came after I forgave myself. I realised that I had been too hard on myself. I am a first born. A first born is like a deputy parent — there were lots of expectations from everyone around me — my parents, my siblings. Some expectations can be unrealistic,” he says.

“I want to tell my fellow men that it is okay to cry; that it is okay to reach out and seek help. Men need a band of brothers they can talk to about anything and everything.”

For a couple of months now, Anjeyo, a digital marketer, has been sharing his story and thoughts on depression and suicide on Twitter, anj­_116_.

He also runs a podcast called Uncomfortable Conversations. The channel is two months old. “So far, six suicidal Kenyans have reached out to me – all men below 30 years,” he says.

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I bought a car from an online bazaar, but it ended in tears



Buyer beware! The sleek car that you saw on that online bazaar may not be on sale – but a ruse to rip you off.

Three buyers fell for this trap, hoodwinked by a smooth-talking ‘salesman’ who promised to help them upgrade their cars, in a saga that ended in tears.

And the victims had thought that because a lawyer was involved in the transaction, this protected their interests as well. However, the manner in which they lost their cash raises questions about his role.

The address was an office block in the city centre, where the sale agreements would be drafted, buyers would part with their cash and the seller would thereafter vanish into thin air without delivering the vehicle.

Since 2018, when one of the cases was reported, the victim is yet to recover his money, with the lawyer claiming he did not know the seller.

This year, however, two more people have fallen prey to the scam and it’s unclear how many more have been conned.

Wanted to upgrade his car

Earlier this year, Mr Kelvin Ngugi, 23, wanted to upgrade his KBX Toyota Sienta and, while scrolling through the internet one evening, he came across a dealer who identified himself as Mr Ronald Bundi on, the online classifieds website that acquired OLX.

Mr Bundi was willing to trade in Mr Ngugi’s old vehicle and Mr Ngugi, impressed at the convenience of that possibility, began making arrangements for that to happen.

However, before the deal could be closed, Mr Bundi informed him that the trade-in option was no longer viable.

He was left with the sole option of selling his car to buy the one he wanted, a white Toyota Sienta, registration KCQ.

Mr Ngugi hunted for a buyer, sold it and reached out to Mr Bundi for the car he wanted. He was informed the car was still available at a showroom along Kiambu road at Sh600,000.

“The plan was that I pay a Sh500,000 deposit and remit the balance in instalments of Sh25,000,” recalled Ngugi.

Mr Kelvin Ngugi.

On February 19, when they were to close the deal, Mr Bundi advised Mr Ngugi to meet him at lawyer Wilberforce Mariaria Nyaboga’s office at Uniafric House, along Koinange Street, for the payment and signing of a sale agreement.

“The lawyer finished drafting the agreement at around 3:45pm and asked me to go withdraw the deposit since the banks were about to close and pay in cash. He advised that the payment be done at his office so that in case of anything, he’d be held liable,” Mr Ngugi recounted.

Mr Ngugi says he did as advised, returned with the money and gave it to the lawyer, who, alongside the seller, started counting it.

When they confirmed the amount, the seller offered to go get the car with Mr Ngugi’s father from a garage in Hurlingham.

Mr Bundi explained the car had been taken to Hurlingham to be fitted with an alarm system to ease its tracking in the event Mr Ngugi failed to remit the balance.

Unbeknown to Mr Ngugi, this was the seller’s trick to get away with his money.

The two stepped out to hop onto motorbike taxis to speed them to the garage, but Mr Bundi sped past Mr Ngugi’s father and disappeared.

“Later Dad called to inform me that they had lost him. We tried reaching Bundi on the phone in vain.  That is how I realised I had been conned,” he said.

Mr Ngugi says he recorded a statement with a Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) officer at Central Police Station but that is yet to bear any fruit.

He says the police have been unable to track down both Mr Bundi and the lawyer, even on the occasions the latter is spotted at his office.
On Thursday, the lawyer denied knowing Ngugi and ever having drafted the agreement.

Another victim

After giving up hope of ever recovering the Sh900,000 she paid for a Toyota RAV4, Ms Florence Awour (36) decided to share her predicament on a Facebook’s parenting group to expose Mr Bundi, who had conned her too.

Ms Awuor had spotted the car at and involved her brother in making the purchase. She paid Sh1.1 million through the lawyer’s Equity Bank account but never got the car.

Ms Florence Awour.

Nation Media Group

Her brother had been assured the car was at a yard along Kiambu road. Her brother and a mechanic had checked out and test-driven the car twice before she paid for it.

Mr Bundi asked to meet her brother at the same lawyer’s office, where the sale agreement was signed but when they went for the car at Tito Motors along Kiambu road, her brother was told by the attendants that Mr Bundi wasn’t known to them.

She conducted a search on the car’s registration and realised her brother had also been given a fake logbook.

“I alerted the car’s owner, who in turn filed a report with a DCI officer at Central Police Station under OB number 67/26/02/2020.”

After publicising her tribulations, she said the lawyer refunded Sh200,000 and alleged the balance had been wired to the seller.

Yesterday, the lawyer acknowledged he refunded the money but after realising that the deal had gone sour. He admitted to having recorded a statement at Central police station where the matter has been pending under investigation for months.

“I was acting on behalf of the two because they came to me asking for an agreement to seal their deal. I am therefore not to blame. I am also aware that the police have been hunting the seller who I only know as Robert, who is unknown to me,” he said.

The sale agreement however was with Alice Nancy Momanyi.

Seller disappeared into thin air

Henry Munene Muchiri (35) also gave up after a long wait for justice. He said police were unable to help him recover Sh600,000 paid for a Toyota Sienta bought via OLX but was never delivered to him in 2018.

“After expressing my interest, I was taken to a yard on Ngong Road where I saw the vehicle, inspected it and agreed to make a purchase.”

A Toyota Sienta 2010 model.

File | Nation Media Group

But before the car was released, Mr Munene was asked to accompany the seller to his lawyer’s office in town to sign a sale agreement.

“At some point everything was fine, the car’s logbook and search hinted at no foul play until I was asked to make the payment. Apparently they did not have a bank account so I was requested to pay in cash and I brought the money to the lawyer’s office.”

At some point the seller said he needed to rush downstairs to pick up a laptop for use in the transaction but he never came back.

“The lawyer claimed he didn’t know the seller in person and I reported the matter at Central Police Station under OB number 146/10/7/18 but the investigating officer kept asking for a facilitation fee to speed up investigations. I later gave up and returned to Kirinyaga,” he said.

On Monday, DCI detectives at Central Police Station said the lawyer had already recorded a statement.

Efforts to contact Mr Bundi were futile. His contacts as received from the victims were out of service and others were not being picked.

Cash withdrawn immediately

However, an attempt to send Sh5 to one of Mr Bundi’s contact to get his Mpesa-registered name was successful. The amount was, however, withdrawn from his end as soon as it was received. A text message the Nation sent to this number thereafter requesting his response to the claims by the victims wasn’t responded to.

After placing a call and sending a text message to the lawyer on Tuesday, October 20, requesting his response to the claims by the victims, he called back but declined an interview on phone.

Mr Mariaria told this writer to meet him on Wednesday, October 21, in his office. The meeting was then pushed to Thursday when the lawyer denied claims of acting in collusion with Mr Bundi.

He explained that although he had drafted two agreements in the past for transactions in which the buyers never got the vehicles, he has never been involved in any deal with Mr Bundi.

Mr Mariaria added he could not recall parties to the transactions because he offers legal services to many people.

“People come to me after agreeing to sell and buy cars from each other and all I do is sign the agreement and witness the transaction,” added the lawyer.

Denies culpability

Asked whether he was concerned about his office being used to swindle Kenyans money, he responded he cannot stop people from flocking to his office in search of legal services.

“The only mistake I committed was receiving Florence’s money in my account. Otherwise, there are too many criminals in town and cars are being sold every day. The only thing I can do is to be careful next time,” the lawyer said.

Jiji, a subsidiary of Digital Spring Ventures, acquired OLX from five countries in its efforts to become the leading classified marketplace in the world by traffic.

The transactions made through the platform are virtual, which exposes it to abuse but to cushion its clients from theft, the website advises buyers to only make payments for items bought after successful delivery.

“Avoid anything that appears too good to be true, such as unrealistically low prices and promises of quick money,” further reads the disclaimer.


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Court postpones case against Sonko’s impeachment




The Labour Court has suspended the temporary issued over half a year ago to have Nairobi’s governor Mike Sonko impeached.

On Friday, justice made the decision after disbanding an initial report filed former Nairobi county assembly speaker Beatrice Elachi.

Elachi sought to have Mike Sonko relieved of his duties at Nairobi’s county boss.

In her argument, Elachi said that there was no employer-employee relationship between the governor and members of the county assembly.

She added that such a relationship didn’t give the governor the mandate to determine any arising dispute.

Elachi further stated that the case breaches the basic principle of law that states all government entities should not encroach on each other since they are separate.

Additionally, the former speaker stated that the governor’s case was against the law as it abused the entire court process.

Justice Ongaya, however, ruled that the governor didn’t have to create an employee-employer relationship with ward representatives.

He added that impeachment is a disciplinary process for removing a person from the office which is a function of human resource.

Therefore, it is within the realms of the Constitution and Statutory provisions.

Additionally, the judge said Sonko’s case was within Constitutional and Statutory jurisdiction that can decline issues pertaining to labour relations and employment.

Also, section 12(2) of the Employment Labour Relations Court Act, 2011 it’s okay for a case to be filed in court against or by any institution under the written law.

Additionally, the Act allows the court to determine disputes against people working as either employers or employees.

On his part, Ongwaya said proceeding with the case didn’t mean he was undermining the comity of the three government arms.

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Uhuru warns boda boda riders against being used by politicians for personal gains




President Uhuru Kenyatta on Friday the 23rd of October oversaw the signing of a grand deal between capital markets authority, Boda Boda Safety Association of Kenya (BAK) an investment firm and an oil marketer.

The head of state further gave the riders some financial advice on how to scale and become rich.

Uhuru also encouraged the bodaboda riders to work hard so that they can achieve their goals.

“Boda boda industry is a sleeping giant that needs to be awakened, which is why the boda boda investment scheme is a great idea.

“Every individual should take pride in paying the price for what they want. If you do not pay the price, someone will pay to misuse you,” Uhuru said.

President Uhuru further questioned why some Boda Boda riders are poor despite the industry raking a staggering ksh 27 billion monthly.

According to him, the industry earns more than what the Government gives counties yearly.

“Every year, in totality, the boda boda industry makes ksh 357 billion. Boda boda association if together, would make more than what the government gives to the 47 counties.

“If you collect almost ksh1 billion every day, why does every boda boda rider cry of poverty?” Uhuru questioned.

“The boda boda sector supports, directly or indirectly, 5.2 million kenyans which accounts for 10% of the population. This means that one in every ten kenyans makes his livelihood because of the business that you do,” he added

The head of state also cautioned the riders against accepting influence from political forces.

According to him, the riders should unite and work hard to visualize their dreams.

“If the working life of a boda boda is ten years after which he joins another sector, then this scheme offers a safe landing for him outside the said industry. My government is in full support of this association.

“My advice is to tell you to leverage your numbers.. look at things not in an individual aspect, but in a collective point of view. At times you’ll have to make unpopular decisions hence the reason why I came with a lean team. But always think of yourselves first and be careful not to be swindled based on political grounds.”

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