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Police mental health a predicament, President Uhuru says

President Uhuru Kenyatta at Nyayo Gardens, Nakuru. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has called on police officers to open up if faced with tough situations, to avoid incidents that result in murder-suicide.

“There is no need to result in harmful practices. Your gun should be used to save lives, not take them,” the president noted.

Uhuru acknowledged that mental health is a serious predicament in the country, but one that can be addressed if affected persons reach out.

“There is so much going on in the world, but it doesn’t hurt to share your problems.”

The Head of State, who was inspecting a pass-out parade of General Service Unit (GSU) officers at Embakasi, Nairobi, encouraged officers to consult their peers, employers, and family members when faced with difficult times, adding that their issues can be addressed.

“Please step forward. There is no shame in it…we can find solutions and help you become even better officers,” he said.

His appeal comes in the wake of rising murder and suicide cases in the police force. 

On Tuesday, a police officer identified as Benson Imbatu killed six people in a shooting spree in Nairobi’s Kabete area.

Imbatu fatally shot his girlfriend and three boda-boda riders before turning the gun on himself.

It also happened that Police Constable Edwin Muhula, attached to Ganga Police Post in Busia County, shot his wife before pulling the trigger on himself on June 24 this year.

In August, the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) rolled out a nationwide mental assessment of all officers, aimed at addressing depression within the service.