Robert Gituhu
Image: Courtesy

The mother of Robert Gituhu, a 28-year-old man who lit himself on fire in the heart of Mombasa last week, has finally opened up.

The distraught mother disclosed to web journalists who visited her home that her son had bipolar disorder.

The man's mother claimed that Robert was receiving medical attention at the time they last spoke and that he abruptly departed from his home, leaving his phone behind.


The mother added that after that they reported the incident to the police and began looking for her son, sadly learning that he had set himself on fire and was being treated at a hospital.

"I was told that he had gone out and was seen carrying a bag, I knew that he had left his phone at home and I called the police, I knew his state of mind was not right. It was Sunday. We continued to look for him on Monday, on Tuesday we did not find him..." she said.

"On Thursday I couldn't get up early because I was tired after looking for him, but I was able to go out and on the way by car, I received a video on WhatsApp.


When I opened it, I saw something very bad, the first thing I saw was my child's face in pain, so I couldn't turn on the sound, I yelled and the car stopped. It hurt me a lot when I saw someone who gave my son a match to light himself without knowing what problem he had," she added.

Given his mental condition, the mother claimed it was terrible for people to applaud him when he lit himself on fire, but she added that she had forgiven the individual who provided him the match.

"I have forgiven the person who took the match and gave it to him, and I will work hard so that I can inform people about this disease. He would have turned 28 next month," she said.

The mother claimed that her son had completed a master's program after graduating from college in Eldoret but had to postpone his goals due to his bipolar disorder.

Counselors, medics, and psychologists advise that you can always reach out for help when experiencing any mental health issues. Call Kenya Red Cross toll-free hotline, 1199 for support.