Concern as road clashes claim 13 lives in two days

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2024 06:31 | By
A bus belonging to Easy Coach Services at the scene of accident in Kisumu. PHOTO/Print
A bus belonging to Easy Coach Services at the scene of accident in Kisumu. PHOTO/Print

At least 13 people have been killed and over 60 others injured in separate road accidents in the last two days.

In one of the cases on Monday night at Mlima Kiu in Mukaa, Makueni county, 10 people died in an accident involving five vehicles on the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway.

At least 11 other passengers were hospitalised with serious injuries. According to the police and witnesses, a driver of a lorry ferrying sand lost control of the truck while speeding downhill on the overtaking lane hitting three oncoming vehicles.

Nine passengers died on the spot while a baby later succumbed to the injuries while undergoing treatment at the nearby Sultan Hamud Hospital.

The hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Jane Mwende confirmed the facility received 10 bodies at the morgue and at least 11 casualties of the accident.

Among the deceased were three women, four men and two children.
“One of the victims, a baby, died at the hospital. Majority of the survivors sustained head injuries and fractures and we suspect some had internal injuries,” she said.

Six of the victims were later transferred to Makindu Hospital for specialized care and also the fact that the facilities were overstretched.

According to a police report, the lorry from the Nairobi general direction first hit a matatu belonging to Spanish Sacco after the driver failed to control it.

More than 1,000 Kenyans have been killed since the beginning of the year, National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) Director General George Njau said yesterday.

Njau attributed the road carnage to speeding, lane indiscipline, drunk and reckless driving and use of unroadworthy vehicles.

In Kisumu, a student from Chavakali Boys’ High School died on impact and 32 others seriously injured in a grisly road accident on way home on Monday night.

The accident happened at the Mamboleo blackspot area around Coptic Church round about.
Sources said the driver of the Easy Coach bus they were travelling in lost control as he tried to negotiate a corner.

Kisumu central police commander Peter Mulai confirmed the accident but said most of them, however, sustained soft tissue injuries, disc dislocation, and general bodily harm as after the drive hit a rail guard.
The vehicle rolled at the edge of the road and rested on its left side, according to witnesses.

Some of the injured students are being treated at Avenue Hospital while others were rushed to Jaramogi Oginga Teaching and Referral Hospital.

The students were heading to Nairobi after closing for the first term holiday. Nyanza Regional Traffic Commander, Allan Mwangi, yesterday said they were looking for the driver of the bus who is said to have jumped out of the car and escaped to an unknown destination.

There were reported delays at the JOOTRH emergency wing to respond to the victims owing to the current doctor’s strike.

It however took the intervention of the management to plead with the medics to save lives and seek for their welfare later.

This is the second accident involving a school bus after the Kapsabet Boys’ School recently on Kabarnet-Marigat Road.

The incident occurred in the Patkawanin area of Baringo County on March 16 and claimed the lives of a student and a teacher.

The National Assembly minority leader Opiyo Wandayi yesterday expressed concern over the rising cases of accidents saying such accidents should have caused heads to roll in the relevant ministry.

Wandayi said the Ministry of Transport should urgently come up with a plan of action for Mombasa Road in particular, saying it had become a black spot.

About two weeks ago, another accident happened along the Nairobi- Mombasa highway, claiming the lives of 11 Kenyatta University students, while injuring 46 other students.

“Like all other countries, Kenya is supposed to halve deaths caused by road accidents by the year 2030 in line with the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety. However, the reverse is being witnessed amid high sounding talk,” Wandayi said.

According to NTSA, 4,324 died while the rest were left with life-changing injuries last year.
Wandayi added that in May last year, the Ministry of Health, the NTSA, the World Health Organization and Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the launch of an initiative to reduce deaths and serious injuries occasioned by road traffic accidents by formulating as well as strengthening laws, policies and actions that are proven to save lives.

“Nothing has been seen of that initiative and nothing has been heard of these institutions and organizations as the number of accidents continue to soar on our roads,” he said.

The minority leader also attributed the accidents to speeding and the weather and road conditions.
“We have reckless and inconsiderate drivers. Both drivers and pedestrians are routinely abusing alcohol while on the road. But there are also cases of fatigue among both public passenger and private vehicle drivers,” he said.

He added: “The situation is further exacerbated by wide-spread corruption by officials.”
According to Wandayi, the Ministry of Transport needs to share with Kenyans a sustainable way of ensuring that vehicles on our roads are roadworthy, that motorists adhere to traffic rules and those who do not adhere to traffic rules do not get away with it by bribing police.

“Speed limit signs and all other signs needed to avert accidents must immediately be clearly displayed at regular intervals across all roads in the country,” he added.

Senators have also urged the NTSA to change tack and devise new strategies to curb the rising cases of road accidents.

The lawmakers have moved to open inquiry into the causes of accidents that have left hundreds of people, including students, lose their lives in recent months.

The Senate Roads and Transportation Committee, chaired by Kiambu lawmaker Karungo Wa Thang’wa, is deliberating on the matter following petitions by Senators Mohamed Faki (Mombasa) and Veronica Maina (Nominated).

In her petition, Maina wants the Senate Roads and Transportation Committee to probe the causes of the accidents.

In particular, she wants the committee to investigate the death of 11 Kenyatta University students.
Reporting by Zadock Angira, Noven Owiti and Kepher Otieno

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