Monday, May 23, 2011

Somebody save ‘Sonko’ from himself now

Sunday Nation 22 May 2011

Mental health specialists rarely make any comments about individual cases they have attended to, unless the clients themselves or their caretakers (where appropriate) give consent for this to be done.

It is even rarer for us to venture an opinion on the mental status of someone we have never interacted with except through the eyes of a media outlet.

However, it is my considered opinion that when a person in a position of responsibility begins behaving abnormally by all standards, including those of his nearest and dearest, something must be done to restore normality.

It is thus with a heavy conscience that I will comment on the case of Makadara Member of Parliament, Mike ‘Sonko’ Mbuvi, alias Gedion.

Youthful MP

Last week we saw this youthful MP leading a demonstration about an issue that one wouldn’t be bothered to remember.

The antics he engaged in would have resulted in immediate arrest and an order for a mental status evaluation if he were an ordinary citizen of this country. He boxed a mabati structure until he sustained serious injuries to his hands, requiring medical attention.

He shouted, lay in the middle of the road, and banged his head a few times on various structures before making his way to some office to register his complaint.

His supporters

Many of his supporters happily went along with his antics, but a few had the presence of mind to try restraining him to prevent further injury to himself or damage to property.

This behaviour was clearly out of the ordinary, and he needed a firm hand to stop him and offer him assistance.

However, his family and friends may be having trouble telling him the truth about his behaviour and the probable need for help for several reasons.

One, they may actually think that there is nothing wrong with his behaviour. This would be a tragedy of monumental proportions, because then this young man would be completely on his own.

He would travel a downward spiral that would only end in tragedy, and the rest of us would be left wondering why we did not pick up the early warning signs.

Two, it is possible that he does not have people close enough to him to tell him whenever he goes overboard with his behaviour. This would be equally tragic.

All those people who are currently enjoying his largesse should be generous enough to make time to help him.

This is obviously in the beneficiaries’ best interests, given that saving Sonko now would ensure that he survives long enough to continue with his much-vaunted philanthropy.

Finally, and more likely, it is probable that his friends and relatives really do care about what is happening to him, but are afraid to confront him with this information or to offer him help.

If this is the case, then they should gather courage and use this column to point out to him the folly of his ways, and offer to help him deal with any social or psychological issues he may be going through.

Responsible citizens

Leaving things as they are would be a dereliction of duty on their part.

At the end of the day, it is the duty of all responsible citizens to point out the king’s nakedness, in order to save the kingdom the embarrassment of seeing their ruler parading through the streets in all his natal glory.

Dr Lukoye Atwoli is a consultant psychiatrist and lecturer at Moi University’s school of medicine

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