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VAS

Mwingi deaths could have been avoided

OPINION
By Editorial | December 5th 2021

The bus plunged into River Enziu in Ngune Village, Mwingi Central, Kitui County on Saturday. [Courtesy]

Haste to attend a wedding turned tragic on Saturday.

A bus carrying members of the Mwingi Catholic Church to attend a wedding at Nuu market, Mwingi, plunged into river Enziu after being swept off the road by raging waters. By yesterday, more than 20 bodies had been recovered from the river.

A survivor said the driver of the ill-fated bus had waited at the bridge for two hours hoping the water level would go down substantially to allow him safe passage.

Witnesses to the accident say the driver was unaware of the rugged edges of the road, hence failed to anticipate which side was safe. While it is easy to apportion blame on the drivers’ poor judgment, national and county governments take the biggest blame for the accident.

The bridge is a notorious black spot at which many people have lost lives. That alone should have prodded both governments to put up safety measures such as side rails that mark the road’s edges - or even better build a better bridge.

A lot of money within counties goes to waste through worthless benchmarking trips while it could be used to solve such problems.

There are claims the bus was carrying more people than its seating capacity, which also points an accusing finger at traffic police along the road. Early this year, Education CS George Magoha banned school buses from being hired out for activities that have nothing to do with students and school.

Last week, ANC Leader Musalia Mudavadi raised concerns over use of school buses in school unrelated activities.

It is unadvisable for drivers to drive across flooded bridges. That is because even if one knows their way across the river, there are chances a section of road could have broken off and been swept away.

The unfortunate Mwingi accident should act as a warning to road users to exercise caution and patience and the government to do what it is elected to do.

 

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