Growing cases of murder and suicide must be addressed

The sanctity of life has never been in doubt. Indeed, our Constitution guarantees the right to life, yet in light of happenings over the last few months; there is no more guarantee. Too many cases of murder, suicides, neglect of the poor and sick that have led to loss of lives dominate news on an almost daily basis. Human life appears to have lost value.

The upsurge in homicide cases countrywide is enough cause for worry and serious national reflection. This month alone, several cases have been reported, among them, the killing of six security guards in Kilingili market, Vihiga County early this month. In Siaya, a man killed his sister-in-law over marriage plans.

Villagers in Rongo took matters into their hands and killed five members of a family by burning them to death on suspicion of indulging in witchcraft. In Kuresoi Constituency, a 19-year-boy hacked his girlfriend to death before committing suicide. Lawyer Robert Chesang' was murdered in his house in Machakos County last month, while the mutilated body of a six-year-old girl was found in a dam in Kinangop.

Recently, an Administration Police Officer killed a teacher at Navakholo in Kakamega County, while his AP colleague at Soy killed his wife. Cases have also been reported of Kenya Wildlife Rangers killing a 50-year-old man last year and a student early this year on claims they were poachers.

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In Mukuru kwa Njenga, Nairobi, a woman was arrested after dumping her baby in a dumpsite. Last Friday, a man strangled his three children to death in Chepalungu.

Many such unreported cases exist, but these serve to show the extent of the problem. And the problem is not just homicides, suicides have also been on the rise. Besides, rather than see a drop in extra-judicial killings, there has been a rise; particularly in some estates of Nairobi and areas of the Coast, where police officers show scant respect for life. They would rather shoot youth to death than follow the due process of the law, which is to arrest and charge them in a court of law. Cases of patients succumbing to illness or injuries because hospitals denied them attention on account of their inability to raise certain amounts of money abound. Without doubt, we have a situation on our hands as a society.

It is quite clear that there is something wrong, and it needs to be identified and addressed sooner. This threat has been left unattended for so long. There is the danger that the situation may spiral out of control. These are not isolated cases, for there are many more that do not make the headlines, yet are symptomatic of a general breakdown in society. The moral fibre that holds society together seems to have been irreparably broken. We may not be able to pinpoint the exact causes, but there are pointers.

Among them is drug abuse by the youth, especially those who find themselves jobless and frustrated after school; stresses of life brought about by harsh economic realities, social order breakdown as we abandon traditions and norms that held society together in favour of modernity, and Satanism.

The leadership that the people would ideally look up to during such times has let them down. While the Government is obligated to do all it can to preclude such cases, the tragedy is that it is engaged elsewhere; mostly with politics of succession. Sadly, there are some in Government who have the temerity to treat life with disdain; denying that any Kenyan has died of starvation, yet reality demonstrates otherwise.

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The Church, as the custodian of our moral values, also appears to have failed in its responsibilities. Society, on its part, acts with a recklessness that is detrimental to its own good. Not only have we embraced alien values, but there is also aloofness in society that practically makes neighbours enemies.

Nobody cares about what the other person does anymore, and that is how we lost it. It is no longer plausible to just stand by, shed a tear after a murder, shrug then sit back and wait for the next incident to manifest itself. We must act together to stop this madness threatening our society.

Thus, it behooves the Government, the Church, psychologists and everybody in the society to put their heads together, determine where the rain started beating us and find a solution to these problems.

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ConstitutionKilingili marketMurderAP officerHomicide