Nine people yesterday died in an accident along the Nyeri-Nyahururu road. The group was travelling back home after attending a funeral at Mukurwe-ini in Nyeri County.
The accident happened a few hours after President Uhuru Kenyatta directed police to take back the enforcement of traffic regulations from the National Transport and Safety Authority.
The group was travelling from Nyeri for the funeral of a relative of Patrick Maina.
The driver lost control of the vehicle at Kianugu area near Ndaragwa forest and it veered off the road.
According to police, the driver, Simon Mwangi, three unidentified female passengers, and a two-year-old girl died on the spot while Sarah Muthoni (53), Regina Wanjira (50), and Lucy Wambui (44) were pronounced dead on arrival at the Nyahururu county hospital.
Another victim, Lydia Wambui, died while undergoing treatment while 10 passengers were admitted at the hospital.
Some of the survivors who spoke to The Standard claimed the driver had on several occasions ignored calls not to speed before the 14-seater matatu rolled several times.
According to one of the survivors, James Mathenge, the vehicle was overloaded.
“Some of the passengers had no vehicles to transport them from the burial and we had no option but to give them a lift. The matatu was overloaded as we travelled back. Many were eager to get home,” he noted. Mathenge said passengers begged the driver to slow down.
“We kept on complaining about the speed but he insisted that we were safe. The accident happened abruptly as we drove down the hill and the vehicle rolled,” he said.
The accident which occurred at around 7.30pm on Tuesday evening and left residents of Kiboya village in shock as seven of the victims hailed from there.
They were members of Kiboya Self-Help Group, a welfare organisation where members contribute money and save for social activities.
Leaders from the area have called for a crackdown on rogue drivers and strict enforcement of traffic regulations to reduce the road accident toll.
Ndaragwa MP Jeremiah Kioni and several local leaders who visited the scene and the victims at the Nyahururu hospital urged drivers to observe caution to avert fatal accidents.
“We demand action against careless driving. The Government has to take action to end these killings,” he said.
Governor Francis Kimemia and Nyandarua woman representative Faith Gitau also demanded that the Government make sure that all vehicles adhere to traffic rules.
“It disheartening to see lives being lost,” said Mr Kimemia.
“For how long will we keep losing lives?” asked Ms Gitau.