Thursday July 17 2014

His obsession almost drove him to suicide

By Edgar R Batte and Carol Nambowa

Ritah has to gather strength to share the story of the man who almost took his life in the name of proving his love for her, and yet he went on to frame her for having poisoned him.

Mustapha started out as an ideal man, although to the woman he was interested in, there was never going to be a future between them. He was a Muslim and she was a staunch Christian, so the boundaries were clear.
Even as I begin to take notes, Ritah shows signs of insecurity.

“I do not want to put his real name in the newspaper because this man will come after me. I am so afraid of him,” Ritah says of the man she met when she had just joined campus.
“I was 18. He came to our hostel and we seemed to pick a conversation so fast. He had been to school with my roommate and I figured they were dating.”
Little did she know she had hurried her conclusion on the relationship between the two - Mustapha had his eyes on her and her roommate was only a friend.

“One evening when I returned from class at about 9pm, I found Mustapha in the room, talking to Hajarah. He was seated on my bed. When I entered the room, he looked at me. I placed my books on the bed and left the room to give them privacy.”
When Ritah returned two hours later, Mustapha was still put. She entered, got some items and left the room again. She took a bath, slipped on her night dress and returned to sleep.

When he finally left at midnight, Hajarah woke up Ritah to tell her that Mustapha was actually interested in her.

“I did not take her seriously because of our different faiths,” Ritah says.
The following evening, Mustapha returned and this time greeted her, before starting a conversation with her.

“He told me he had gone to the same school with Hajarah. He then asked for my number and I gave it to him, so he started calling me but after two weeks, my phone was stolen. So whenever he called, my phone was off. He then came over to my room and asked why I was not picking his calls and I told him that my phone had been stolen. He got me another line. Soon, my mother decided to get me a single room in the hostel, which only had a bed and my shoes,” she narrates.

Mustapha noticed that the room was empty and he was bothered, so he started buying Ritah things; from airtime to larger items such as a television set. His family operated a shop in one of the Kampala suburbs.

“After five months he converted from Islam and became a Christian and he would attend service at my church. He became close to the pastors at the church. After a while, I got a boyfriend, and one day, my boyfriend wanted me to escort him shopping. I was at Mustapha’s shop when I received the call. He asked who was calling me, and I told him it was my boyfriend. He asked which other boyfriend I had,” Ritah recounts.

When she left to meet her boyfriend and help him with the shopping, Mustapha kept calling from about 2pm to 9pm when Ritah got home.
“When I reached home, I had 37 missed calls from him. I got back to him but my sister advised me to stop picking his calls. The next time I heard, he had taken poison and said I had poisoned him. As he was being led to police to make a statement, he confessed that he had actually poisoned himself,” she narrates.

“I think we were never meant to be.” When Ritah left university, she tried to remain Mustapha’s friend but she was still so afraid of him. “At some point he refused to eat food and was admitted at one of the major hospitals in Kampala. Apparently, he had refused to eat until he saw me. His mother called me and I went there and he was able to eat after sometime.”

What causes obsessed love?
When you have just started relating with someone, the temperature rises. Some people even fail to eat or sleep before they see or talk to the other person, and it is a natural thing. With time, this intimacy reduces. However, for some people, the obsession remains even after the couple has been together for some time. There are several causes of obsessiveness, two of them being the natural way such people relate with another, and another being psychological disorders.

One can deal with the obsession, depending on its cause. At times, one cannot even tell they are obsessed with another until informed. If the obsession is at its initial stages, the other partner can tell this person. However I might be obsessed with someone but the way I work on it depends on whether it is affecting the people around me. If it does not affect them, then it could not be a problem. Otherwise, if it affects other people, the obsessed partner should be informed on how they are affecting those around them so that a solution can be realised.

If the obsessed partner is not informed or communicated to about their obsession, they will most likely not realise there is a problem. But once they realise it is a problem, they can work on relating better with the people they love.
If there is no improvement after communication has been made, then it is best for the couple to seek help from a counsellor or therapist.