Police in Uganda are investigating the bizarre circumstances surrounding the alleged suicide of a journalist working for Kooki Broadcasting Services (KBS).
According to sources, Brian Kasibante, 26, left a suicide note addressed to his friends and relatives before drinking paraquat, a toxic chemical widely used as an herbicide (plant killer).
Unfortunately, Kasibante breathed his last on Wednesday morning at Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, where he had been rushed to receive treatment on Tuesday evening.
Uganda’s Daily Monitor reports that Mr. Nicholas Kakeeto, his colleague, suspects a domestic brawl. He alleges that [Kasibante] had been having frequent disagreements with his two wives, which he believes could be why he decided to take his own life.
“He has been telling us stories of the disagreements with his wives, but we thought this was a simple matter, and we actually ignored it. When we learnt that he had decided to drink a herbicide (paraquat) to die, we were so shocked,” he said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
“He sent several messages before writing a note where he advised police not to investigate the matter or arrest anyone since it was his decision to end his own life,” Mr. Kakeeto added.
“I have been talking to him daily but had no idea he was troubled. I last saw a write-up on his WhatsApp status talking about how he was going to commit suicide, I tried calling him, but his phones were off, something that worried us the most,” Ms. Betty Nabichu, a news anchor at the same station, said.
According to a hospital employee who chooses to remain anonymous, Kasibante ingested roughly 30ml of paraquat, which caused his entire body system to become disorganized.
Uganda’s Ministry of Health survey conducted among 4,660 adults in 14 Ugandan districts showed 15 percent of respondents had tried to commit suicide, and 12 percent had done so within one year before the 2016 survey.
However, the actual number is even thought to be bigger.
“The cultural attitudes towards suicide contribute to the difficulties of obtaining data,” the survey showed.
A recent report from the Uganda Counselling Association (UCA) and the Ministry of Health reveals that 14 million Ugandans are mentally ill, translating to 35 in 100 Ugandans battling mental health problems.
In most Ugandan communities, suicide is taboo. A person who hangs him or herself is usually denied a decent burial.