Grief as KU hosts memorial service for 11 crash victims

A parent inconsolable during the requiem held for the 11 victims on March 24, 2024. [Samson Wire, Standard]

The Kenyatta University fraternity held a memorial service at the institution to pay tribute to 11 students who lost their lives in a road accident in Voi.

As candles flickered in remembrance of the 11 students, the pain of the loss was tangible among the university staff, students, relatives and friends gathered.

Mourners who spoke gave heartfelt eulogies, sharing fond memories of the period they shared with the departed.

Fabian Otieno, the class representative and a survivor of the accident, struggled to come to terms with the loss of his colleagues.

Otieno mourned his colleagues as jovial persons who have left emptiness that shall never be filled. 

“It is impossible to believe, their names echoes in my mind. We were a team, a family meant to face the world together. In these last few days, we have all felt the shock, that’s disbelieve. The halls where we studied, where we laughed now seems so quiet. It is hard to make sense out of it all,” Otieno said. 

Families eulogised the departed loved ones as charming souls whose promising future was cut short, leaving them with hearts full of pain and grief.

Another loss

The late Oslo Mwendwa, who perished in the accident, had lost her sister barely a year ago in a road accident along Kiambu Road.

The father expressed disbelief that the Grim Reaper had again snatched from him a daughter who was promising.

He recalled how Oslo stood beside him as the only beacon of hope at the Ridgeways Baptist Church when they were mourning the passing of their loved one a year ago.

The late Oslo Mwendwa. [Courtesy]

“Today we gather with our hearts heavy to celebrate the life of a remarkable soul whose kindness knew no bounds. Oslo’s spirit mediated warmth and compassion, touching the lives of all fortunate enough to cross her path. Her gentle words and comforting presence were a beacon of hope in times of darkness,” mourned the man.

Mother to the late Rodgers Kiprotich Rono mourned the son as a kind person whose love bonded the family together.

“Rodgers was a beacon of joy and light. His laughter echoed through our homes, his kindness touched the depth of our souls and his love bonded us together as a family. Though we now face the unbelievable pain of his absence, we find solace in the cherished memory we had dearly. Though we cannot fathom why he was taken from us so soon, we take comfort knowing that Rodgers has found peace in the loving embrace of our heavenly Father,” she eulogised.

Future cut

Sister of the late Hellen Mbula Kisilu mourned her as a person whose great future had been cut.

“Mbula, I loved you so much and will continue to love even when you are gone. You were almost done with your degree and the worst happened. I remember two weeks ago, you wanted me to write you a CV as you said that you did not want to be idle during your long holiday so you wanted to look for somewhere to keep yourself busy. You were so determined to better your life, but see death, ooh death, you have taken away my precious jewel from me,” she eulogised.

The father to the late Patricia Murugi Mwangi mourned the daughter as a responsible person who loved family. 

“Thank you so much for always reminding us to stick together as a family. Special thanks for taking good care of your mother when I went abroad. We thank God for the 20 years He gave us together. My daughter, our friend, until we meet again, we love you so much and will forever hold you dear, always in our hearts,” he said.

The First Lady, Mama Rachael Ruto, who joined the memorial service, comforted the gathering with a verse from the Bible.

Rachel Ruto attends the requiem of the 11 Kenyatta University students who perished in an accident. [Samson Wire, Standard]

“In moments of such a profound lose, it is often so difficult to found solace, yet as Psalms 34:18 reminds us, and I quote: ‘The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who have cried in spirit.’ Let us take comfort in these words, drawing strength from our faith in God and our love for each other,” she said.

She expressed regrets that the students who perished had potential and great future ahead.

“I am sad to see the lives of our comrades put off so suddenly. The 11 students we lost were not just students, they were family, both here at college and their respective homes. They were bright students, full of potential, eager to learn, graduate and go out to conquer the world,” Rachael said.

The First Lady urged motorists to exercise caution at all times by ensuring their safety and that of other road users.

She passed over a donation of Sh2 million from President William Ruto to support the bereaved families.

Great support

The Kenyatta university Vice-Chancellor, Prof Paul Wainaina, expressed gratitude to the students who since the tragedy happened, have been of great support.

“Our dear students, you have shown deep love for the departed comrades and support to the survivors. Your huge turnout during the candle lighting and viewing ceremonies as well as when called upon to donate blood is testimony of the strong bond of comradeship among you. You have honoured the departed comrades with decorum and dignity,” Prof Wainaina said.

He called on the students to continue being supportive of each other during the difficult time.

“I urge you to continue to lean on each other for support. In the face of tragedy, we are reminded of the power of the community and the importance of coming together to support those in need. Together we can find strength to honour the memories of our departed friends and support one another through this grieving period,”  he said.