There were no efforts by emergency response teams to rescue former Nyeri governor Wahome Gakuru after he got involved in a grisly road accident along Nairobi-Kenol highway, an inquest heard Thursday.
The governor’s Mercedes Benz rammed into a guard rail at Makenji on the morning of November 7, 2017 but the disaster emergency response teams failed to offer help.
Mr Samson Kinyanjui Wanyaga, the governor’s driver, said after hitting the metallic barrier, his foot got stuck on the acceleration pedal. This caused the rail to pierce through the vehicle entering from the front and coming out at the rear for 66 metres.
Mr Gakuru, who was only 77 days old in office, stayed inside the car’s wreckage at the scene of the accident while bleeding profusely and writhing in pain for about 45 minutes with his aides and members of the public struggling to rescue him.
“The death was caused by poor response of the emergency teams. His life could have been saved. There was no effort made to rescue him,” said Mr Wanyaga while testifying before Nyeri chief magistrate Wendy Kagendo.
The witness told the inquest the vehicle had no mechanical problems and was serviceable, contrary to what the current governor Mutahi Kahiga had claimed after taking over the office.
Days after Dr Gakuru’s death, Mr Kahiga claimed the vehicle was faulty and that he (Kahiga) had been forced to give up his vehicle for use by Dr Gakuru. But the driver insisted the Mercedes car was in good working condition adding that the deceased was changing drivers occasionally. Before Mr Wanyaga, who works with the Ministry of Health, the governor had been chauffeured by at least three other drivers for the short period he was in office.
Before the crash, the car — GVN 019A — had not been used for one week and was at the governor’s residence in Ring Road Estate.
Senior Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Peter Mairanyi together with lawyer Martha Weru, for the Mr Gakuru’s family, told the inquest that the driver caused the governor’s death through commission or was used by other agents. Ms Weru was also representing a consultancy firm headed by Governor Gakuru named as Dhamana Africa.
The inquest heard that the driver was resisting to testify on grounds that he feared for his life. Yesterday morning, after arriving at the court premises, he went to hide at the parking area.
The witness said he was being threatened by people he failed to name and that, sometimes, members of the public confront him at popular joints in Nyeri.
But the court noted that he has never reported the threats to the police or to the State prosecutor.
The inquest continues Friday.