Sunday, July 14, 2024

Zambia alarmed by surge in suicide and passion killings among youths

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Glory Mushinge
Glory Mushinge
Glory Mushinge is an International freelance Journalist from Zambia.

The rate at which young people are reportedly committing suicide and crimes of passion/ passion killings in Zambia has become a source of serious concern.

In recent months, the country has seen a spate of such deaths with victims being under or slightly over 20 years of age.

Overlapping Cases

A recent case involved a 17 year old girl and her boyfriend, who were reported as having booked a room at a lodge on the Copperbelt Province, north of Zambia, shortly after which the boyfriend allegedly stabbed his girlfriend to death before equally attempting to kill himself with the same weapon.

A week after, a Lusaka based 28 year old man stabbed his 20 year old wife and later hanged himself, after a quarrel.

The list of other similar cases that had been reported in different parts of the country, goes on.

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Citizens Speak Their Minds

Citizens are now confused as to what is causing all this and have been brainstorming about solutions.

For Educator, Siphiwe Moola Katwai, who also ministers the Word of God, this needs spiritual intervention.

“Before a thing can manifest in the physical it always starts in the spiritual. Leaving issues not handled or dealt with tends to build up and at a certain point the person cannot contain the pressure. Most if not all emotional decisions stem from spiritual issues,” says Katwai.

She adds that small issues/problems left unattended also end up building up into bigger problems later in life, resulting into such drastic actions.

“It stems from a long history of patterns, actions, little words spoken that are taken lightly….Little patterns and behaviours that are overlooked that eventually lead to such actions.”

As such, most people express the need for the establishment of counselling programmes and centres, meant to help young people to handle relationships and personal problems, better.

Kelvin Pumulo Mudenda, a health specialist, agrees, indicating that psycho-social counselling should be cross-cutting and incorporated in work places too:

“There is much work for psycho-social counselling, at least in most work places not only in hospitals. Just like we have safety talks in construction and all. So there is extremely much work for professional counsellors,” he observes.

Inspirational Speaker, Malawo Chibambula, puts such killings down to the struggle for dominance in relationships amongst young adults, among other reasons.

“It is also worth noting these crimes are also fuelled by mental health illness, stress, depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, anxiety disorders and more serious mental health conditions.

Symptoms include mood and personality habits or social withdrawal from either one’s own family or a complete withdrawal from society,” Chibambula reckons.

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Emphasizing The Need For Effective Communication

Chibambula also cites stress that is bottled up for long and the lack of effective communication in a relationship, as contributing factors.

“In the absence of effective communication, a relationship becomes a potential breeding ground for animosity… So, it becomes even more evidently clear that each and everyone of us is a potential candidate of “crimes of passion,” he laments.

“All it takes is for the right ingredients and recipes in an environment to be present to inflame a situation and boom! A clear manifestation of what has been suppressed is unleashed onto a victim,” he adds.

Like Katwai, Chibambula claims that Crimes of passion are found within and not necessarily external:

“They are human time bombs the persons carry with them, usually ready to explode if triggered by insecurities…Usually, there are signs that the victims can choose to acknowledge or ignore.

The victims are caught by surprise because although they are aware of the signs, they ignore them believing that because of love nothing would possibly go amiss.”

He observes however, that, ‘there are more questions than answers:

“Crimes of passion have long fascinated societies seeking to understand, how does one kill because they love? Are human beings time bombs nearby without even knowing it?”

Among the ways of combating passion killings, suggested by commentators, what stands out is that communication is key and perhaps establishment of a vigorous psychosocial counselling programme, may just be the starting point and should be a concerted effort by government, civil society, the church, community leaders and other stakeholders.


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