A former soldier with the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) who was once respected by the society and his family in Mathioya Constituency of Murang’a County has now become the laughing stock in his village after losing his job and turning into doing menial jobs to get money for beer.
Stanley Gachie Mwangi was fired in 2010 from KDF after his seniors could no longer put up with his drinking habits. He was dismissed with a letter of “service no longer required”.
Since then, the man who had taken up duties of educating his younger siblings, taking care of his single mother and his newly-wedded wife, could no perform these tasks, a move that saw him plunge into drinking.
The more the community referred him to as a “KDF man”, the more he got embarrassed and wanted to drink more to try and forget the reality facing him and sarcasm from his former school mates.
A man who had built his mother a modern four-bedroomed house, fully furnished with household items, started stealing spoons and selling clothes to sustain his drinking.
His wife, who had borne him two children, could not stand him any longer and they separated in 2010.
His mother who had big hopes with her son started praying for him, hoping that one day he would quit drinking and re-join the army.
Theresia Wangui said her son provided for the family and even paid school fees for his brothers and sisters for the 10 years he served in the army but life changed abruptly after he came home and told her, “I have been fired for taking beer.”
“I was surprised because my son was saved and had not taken alcohol before joining the army but I encouraged him to move on with life and told him that God had prepared a better life for him. It seems I was wrong. The more I counselled him, the more he drank uncontrollably,” she told the Nation.
She said her son has now turned into an addict and does menial jobs like carrying bear crates and washing shops and bars in order to get money to buy cheap liquor.
Ms Wangui says her biggest duty is to keep her ears open during the night so that in case he does not return, she goes out to find him so that he does not spend the night in the cold.
One day as she was looking for her son at around10pm, her friend saw her and after listening to her story, she connected her with Sargent Moses Kimenchu, an addiction counsellor.
After visiting Mr Mwangi and evaluating him, Sargent Moses Kimenchu said he was in the compulsive stage, the sixth stage of addiction which requires urgent treatment and rehabilitation.
“I am still trying to contain him but he is in a bad state. He requires immediate medical attention and I call on well-wishers to chip in before his case goes out of hand,” he said.
Mr Mwangi told the Nation that he is ready to change and mend his ways.
But at the same time, he faulted the KDF for firing him instead of helping him reform.
“I wish they helped me before reaching this state. But I’m optimistic that I will get over this and get back my job and continue helping my family,” he said while sobbing and shivering.
He said peer pressure while working with the KDF drove him into drinking.