23 perish in Mbooni road accident

Sunday August 21 2011

Prime Minister Raila Odinga and an assistant minister for Youth and Sports Wavinya Ndeti console Ms Mary Ngila. The PM said the government will pay for the medical expenses of the victims. Photo/BOB ODALO

Prime Minister Raila Odinga and an assistant minister for Youth and Sports Wavinya Ndeti console Ms Mary Ngila. The PM said the government will cater for the medical expenses of the victims. Photo/BOB ODALO 

By BOB ODALO and JOHN KISU

Four family members were among 23 people who perished on Saturday night after a minibus plunged into Uwaani river near Mbumbuni market, Mbooni location.

Among the dead were Mr Richard Munene Makau, 60, his two sons and his grandchild.

According to area police boss Mr David Kirui, the driver lost control of the vehicle and plunged into Wani river killing 23 people instantly.

At least 34 people sustained serious injuries and were rushed to Machakos District Hospital.

The accident, which occurred at 9:30pm was ferrying passengers from Kathonzweni location where they attended a dowry ceremony.

On Friday, Mr Munene was accompanied by his wife Ruth Munene, 55, family members and friends from Kawethei location, Kangundo District to his wife's ancestral home in Kathonzweni location to settle the last dowry negotiation.

The Kamba community has several requirements in the payment of dowry; the first being Ntheo, which involves slaughtering of three goats by the groom’s party and shared with in-laws.

The second, Ngasya, is paid gradually when a couple begin living together as husband and wife. Here, the husband is required to present several gifts to his wife's parents as spelt by their clan.

The ceremony which took place on Saturday was conducted by a Catholic Priest.

On concluding the ceremony, the wife to the deceased opted not to travel but instead she decided to get her medication from a local chemist, while her family members and friends departed on Saturday evening for Kawethei location.

Some of the accident victims who sustained serious injuries have been referred to Kenyatta National Hospital.

Rescue efforts at the accident scene were hampered by ill-equipped instruments as local residents used machetes and axes to cut through the wreckage to save the survivors.

The minibus was towed to Tawa Police post.

According to one of the survivors the matatu was speeding before the accident.

“The minibus, which had over 50 passengers lost control at Uwaani river on hitting a rock before it swerved and rolled" says Zainab Mzee.

Meanwhile, President Mwai Kibaki has sent a message of condolence to the families, friends and relatives of those who perished in the road accident

“At this time when you mourn the death of your loved ones, our prayers and thoughts are with you. May the Almighty God give you strength during this very trying time,” said the President Kibaki.

Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka also sent his message of condolence.

“Its very saddening that so many lives are lost on our roads every other day, all stakeholders in the transport industry should actively
play their role in preventing accidents” he said.