In Summary
  • Section 226 of the Penal Code states that “any person who attempts to kill himself is guilty of a misdemeanour.”
  • Ms Igoki said she is looking for a Kenyan legislator who can spearhead the decriminalisation of suicide in Kenya.
  • According to the recent economic survey, more men than women commit suicide.

A mental health activist has called for the repealing of the section of the penal code that criminalises suicide in Kenya.

Award winning Flora Igoki, a Kenyan-Canadian, who fled the country in 2008 after being attacked by political goons, said suicide should be recognised as a health condition.

Section 226 of the Penal Code states that “any person who attempts to kill himself is guilty of a misdemeanour.”

According to the section 36 of the Penal Code, a misdemeanour without a specific punishment is punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or with a fine, or both.

SUICIDE INCIDENTS

The annual Kenya National Bureau of Statistics economic survey lists suicide as a homicide where 177 suicide incidents were reported to the police in 2018 compared to 421 in 2017.

Similar calls were earlier made by Dr Lukoye Atwoli, who termed the law as “vile and obnoxious” and called for mental health professionals to be allowed to manage patients without undue interference by law enforcers.

Ms Igoki called for allocation of more resources towards mental healthcare in the country to ensure cases of depression that lead to suicide are immediately treated.

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