December 18th 2017

Top Stories / National

Miracle as family of three survive matatu crash that killed 9 in Mbooni

“It is very wrong if this kind of lawlessness can take place in full glare of both the police and matatu owners. This trend must be reversed and everyone should play their rightful role without compromise,” said Prof Kibwana.

By Rose Mukonyorosemukonyo@yahoo.comWednesday, 04 Jan 2017 15:32 EAT

Eunice in her hospital bed. (Photo: Rose Mukonyo/Kenya Free Press).

The family of Justus Nzioki, his wife Eunice and their one year old daughter were lucky to have survived the nasty Mbooni accident last year involving a Nissan matatu which crushed along Kikima-Kalawani road, killing nine people on the spot. One more person has been reported dead from the accident after losing the battle for his life at the Wote Level 4 Hospital in Makueni County.

However, the Nzioki family, who had just celebrated Christmas with relatives at Kitundu village in Mbooni Constituency and were travelling back to Nairobi when the greatest ever threat on their lives happened, was lucky to have escaped in a miraculous way from the claws of death. According to nurses at Wote Hospital, Mr Nzioki, his wife Eunice and their one-year old child Clementine, who are recuperating at the facility, are all in stable condition.

The family narrated how they miraculously survived after the 14-seater matatu plunged into a gully at Kwakolo area in Mbooni West Sub County. “Today my family and I are alive by the mercies of God. We were not special in any way than those who perished in the accident. We thank God for the gift of life,” Mr Nzioki told the Kenya Free Press.

Mr Nzioki, who sustained a fracture on his right leg, was scheduled to resume duty at his work place in Nairobi’s Industrial Area on December 29. “To be alive with my family is the greatest gift that God has given us in 2016, and I will forever live to remember this great day,” said Mr Nzioki.

Mr Nzioki said he literally grabbed their young baby from the wreck after he heard her cry immediately after the crash. “I pulled the baby from the wreck and handed her to rescuers who arrived at the scene. At the time, my wife was still trapped in the wreck and I could not help,” he said.

In the female ward, where Eunice was admitted, pain was evident as she nursed a fractured left leg and left hand. “I remember having insisted to my husband that we should pray before leaving the village, which we did, and I am convinced it was prayers that saved us,” she said.

According to her, the driver of the matatu, who was among those who died in the accident, appeared to have been drunk from the onset of their journey. “From the way he was addressing his conductor, you could easily tell that the driver was under the influence of alcohol which is why they even insisted on overloading the vehicle,” said Eunice, adding, "The vehicle also seemed to have been poorly serviced because the driver had to stop severally to lock up the boot which kept on opening.”

According to Eunice, in as much as the pasangers complained about overloading and over speeding by the driver, no one listened. “Those people (driver and conductor) were very rude. At one point they warned that any person who did not cooperate in having excess passengers loaded would be thrown out of the matatu,” she said.

She revealed that a police road block mounted just a few kilometers from Kikima town did not bother the  rude matatu crew. “We drove past a police road block but the vehicle was stopped and immediately flagged off to proceed in less than a minute,” she recalls.

Governor Kivutha Kibwana who visited the accident survivors at the hospital urged police and matatu saccos to be extra vigilant to avoid unnecessary accidents. “It is very wrong if this kind of lawlessness can take place in full glare of both the police and matatu owners. This trend must be reversed and everyone should play their rightful role without compromise,” said Prof. Kibwana.

The governor called on both the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) and Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KeRRA) to seriously take advise by the county governments relating to status of roads. “Some of these accidents could be avoided if these national government agencies took seriously the advice we give them as county government regarding the status of our roads,” said Prof. Kibwana.

Rose is a contributing writer for the Kenya Free Press, based in Machakos County.

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