No doubt, the tragic happenings in Blantyre last Friday when an irate father, in a fit of rage, picked up his official gun and killed – execution style – his own two sons are as numbing as they are unfathomable.
Look, it is human nature to rush to condemn Senior Superintendent Evance Chisi for prematurely despatching to their maker 23-year-old Stanford and Russell, 29. How can a father be so evil?
But, wait a minute, there may be more to this tragedy than meets the eye. This might be the tragic tipping of a series of build-up issues.
This is no ordinary homicide case, no doubt about that. Chisi needs a thorough forensic psychiatric evaluation.
What made him snap? Preliminary investigations say he shot the first victim, Stanford, not once but twice. He did not stop there. He sought out the second victim, Russell, who was not even in the room and, therefore, we may safely say he was not involved in Stanford’s brawl with his sister, Lusungu.
Even to an untrained mind in things psychological or psychiatric, the early morning brother-sister brawl was just a trigger for things that have been welling up in the senior prison officer’s system.
Let investigators – both criminal and medical, for you cannot rule out one or the other in this tragedy – do a thorough job.
Having said that, the Blantyre unfortunate tragedy exposes a serious deficiency in our health-care system. In Malawi, most of us do not know we are seriously sick although the body may seem or feel healthy and fit. Our health-care system is ignoring one very important condition – mental health or psychiatry.
To most of us, mental health cases are only those where patients run naked, act bizarre or mumble incomprehensibles. But due to several factors, chief among them the worsening economic situation, most of us are depressed.
Malawi is sitting on a medical time bomb whose consequences may be worse than known major killers like malaria and the other usual suspects. Many Malawians are clinically depressed but they are not aware for our health-care system ignores such conditions. Depression is dismissed as one of those so-called ‘life-style’ diseases like BP.
Let the Friday tragic incident act as a wake up call and jog us into taking mind conditions like depression or dementia a bit more seriously.
Depression and other mind diseases, left untended, can lead to spasms of mood swings that only need a simple spark to trigger tragedy of the Friday morning Sunny Side proportions.