Pain, grief as Kisumu bus accident claims 13 lives
"I escorted her to the Kisumu bus park. She was in a very good mood and gave me a hug before she left."
Those are the words of Jack Otieno, 42, who lost his wife Eunice Akinyi in a grisly Friday morning accident at Awasi area that also claimed the lives of 12 other passengers.
Otieno last communicated with his wife at 9.30pm on Thursday after leaving the Kisumu bus park where she had boarded the Nairobi-bound bus that left Bondo town at 7.30pm.
His wife, a trader at Kisumu's Kibuye market, was travelling to Nairobi to purchase goods, something she does on a monthly basis.
"I did not call her after she left but one of my neighbours whom they work with did," said Otieno.
Five hours later, Otieno said the neighbour knocked on his door, saying she had an urgent message for him.
"The woman woke me up and told me she had received a call from the police, who traced the last call in my wife's phone. She informed that Eunice had an accident and had been rushed to Ahero hospital," Otieno said.
He rushed to the hospital but found it locked and the police asked him to get back in the morning.
"The police gave me my wife's phone and revealed to me the sad news that she had died in the accident... I saw darkness and could not believe," he said.
A sombre mood engulfed Ahero Sub-county Hospital mortuary as relatives and friends of those who perished in the accident went to identify bodies of their loved ones.
Nyanza Regional Commissioner James Kianda said the bus had 50 passengers on board. He said the head-on collision at Awasi area occurred when the driver of the bus tried to over take a tractor loaded with cane.
Local police commander said thirty eight survivors were rushed to the nearby Ahero hospital and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga hospital.
By Friday evening, 16 of them had been treated and discharged after sustaining minor injuries.
Jaramogi hospital chief executive Dr Peter Okoth, however, said seven survivors were still under close observation but their conditions were stable.
Caroline Adhiambo, one of the survivors, lost her two-year-old child.
Political leaders, led by former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, sent messages of condolence to the bereaved families, and called upon the relevant government agencies to curb the rising cases of road carnage.
Raila attributed the recent cases of accidents in the country to ignorance by motorists in following the stipulated traffic rules, and corruption within the relevant government agencies.
In a statement sent to newsrooms Raila said: "This madness is certainly aided by corruption on the roads where reckless drivers know that they can always bribe traffic officers and continue endangering lives."
Kisumu Governor Prof Anyang' Nyong'o also sent his condolences and called on the relevant agencies to move with speed and tame rogue drivers.
"We can control some accidents and that is why those mandated to look into this should ensure that the motorists adhere to the regulations," he said.
Hours after the accident, National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) released statistics indicating that the number of deaths on Kenyan roads had increased in 2019 compared to the previous year.
The statistics showed that as at October 1, road crashes had claimed 2,672 lives compared to 2,286 last year.
NTSA Director General Francis Meja Friday said a large number of the crashes were caused by private vehicles.
“Two or three years ago, the public service vehicles were the second highest contributor of road accidents after private motorists,” he said in Nairobi.