Deadly black spot has claimed over 50 lives in seven years

County boss asks highways agency to repair stretch that has claimed many lives.

Thursday January 14 2016

A black spot sign in the Sachangwan area on the

A black spot sign in the Sachangwan area on the Nakuru-Eldoret highway in this picture taken on August 20, 2014. FILE PHOTO | SULEIMAN MBATIAH | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By AGGREY OMBOKI
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By BRIAN MOSETI
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The wail of ambulance sirens announcing yet another tragedy disrupts the afternoon calm in  Kisii Town.

The injured are taken to the Kisii Teaching and Referral Hospital, with the dead stretchered off to the mortuary.

A matatu has just rammed a lorry on the Kisii-Keroka highway, next to the Daraja Moja Bridge.

Four people died and 10 others sustained injuries during the Tuesday incident.

The dead included Mr Vincent Nyabengi, who was a Seventh Day Adventist pastor and a father of a three-year-old girl.

The two-kilometre stretch from the Kisii Bottlers junction to the bridge is a death trap that has claimed more than 50 lives in the last seven years alone.

Commenting on the Tuesday incident, Ms Frida Kemunto, a witness, said: “I heard the passengers screaming in distress as the matatu passed us outside the Gusii Institute gate. A few moments later, we heard a loud bang.”

(READ MORE: List of accident black spots in Kenya)

DEADLY HISTORY

On August 30, 2007, 33 lives were lost at the bridge when a truck crashed into two matatus.

For Ms Joyce Oyaro, who survived the accident, life would never be the same again. She spent six agonising months in hospital.

Her right leg was amputated. The left one took long to heal.

Her Daraja Mbili market business collapsed soon after the accident.

After Tuesday’s accident, Governor James Ongwae expressed dismay at the poor state of the road.

He said he had asked the Kenya National Highways Authority to address the problem.

“They have promised to send a team to address the issue,” he said. “We have repeatedly talked to them about the state of the road. We cannot have potholes in the middle of a bridge. We hope something will be done to avert further loss of lives,” said Mr Ongwae.

He urged drivers to be careful along the Kisii-Keroka highway, saying it is a black spot.

On February 14, 2015, eight people died and 16 others were injured when a matatu collided with a car near the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute.

Three months later, on May 15, 2015, two people died when an impounded lorry, allegedly driven by a traffic police officer who had arrested the driver, hit them at the gate of the Gusii Institute of Technology.

The officer was then roughed up by a mob of students. A petrol station opposite the college was vandalised.

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