Wine tapper digs grave then hangs himself in Kilifi North

Sunday December 3 2017

Man digs grave and hangs himself.

A noose. A 63-year-old man hanged himself from a coconut tree in Mkongani Village, Kilifi North, on December 1, 2017 at night. He had also dug a grave in his compound. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

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A 63-year-old man, living alone after his wife and children left him, has committed suicide at a village in Kilifi County after digging his grave.

Mzee Mwokoli Baya of Mkongani Village in Kilifi North on Friday night hanged himself on a tall coconut tree outside his compound.


More astonishingly is that the old man had been secretly digging a grave without his neighbours noticing.

On Sunday, Kilifi OCPD Alexander Makau said police were investigating the suicide theory of the old man, whom neighbours said lived a dejected life after his family deserted him.

“We want to know the motive behind his death. Sometimes people tend to speculate when one dies but we want to conduct proper investigations into the circumstances that led him to taking his own life,” said Mr Makau.


According to a neighbour, Baraka Sheban, Mr Baya spent the entire Friday afternoon drinking palm wine and was drunk.

“First he came to my home and sold some mangoes to me. He left only to return with palm wine and said the party had just begun. I did not understand but he sat down and we started taking the mnazi,” said Mr Sheban.

He added that moments later, he started talking about death and how he would wish to die. This shocked Mr Sheban.

“He tried to call a boda boda rider, saying that he was interested in dying that day, so he wanted someone who could kill him. I tried to calm him down but he would hear none of it,” said Mr Sheban.


He later left Mr Sheban’s home and headed to a neighbour’s home, where he wished him well and asked them if they could visit his bereaved family on Saturday.

“In my neighbour’s place, the deceased told them that he was going home but invited them to condole in his home the following morning since someone would have died,” said Mr Sheban.

Mkongani Assistant Chief Albert Menza said the deceased must have planned his death well, following the series of happenings before he hanged himself.

“He was on a drinking spree the whole of Friday because I met him at around 3pm and again at 4pm. In all these moments he was totally drunk and I was later to get reports that he had hanged himself that night,” said Mr Menza.


“It is disturbing since he had dug a grave in one corner of the compound where he lived alone.

“Before he hanged himself, he broke some bottles and on the winnowing tray, started singing ‘Kifudu’ a traditional song sang during funerals. At that time, he had also torn all his documents, including ID, land documents, school fee receipts and dumped them in the grave,” said the chief.

The administrator said Mr Baya was a wine tapper and he lived alone.


Another source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they heard a whistle blown three times on Friday night in Mr Baya’s home.

“The neighbours informed me that after he finished singing the funeral songs, they heard a whistle and then the deceased shouted “Maisha yangu kwisha (My life has come to an end)” and then he went quiet,” the chief said.

Mr Baya’s son, who lives nearby, visited the home and found his father hanging from a coconut tree.

The administrator said the family will now have to increase the grave’s size and bury the deceased to avoid being disturbed by his spirits.