Road accidents are no respecter of the ‘house of God’ as Kisumu residents have come to learn.
A section of the road that has been declared a black spot as one descends down hill from Kiboswa along the Kisumu-Kakamega highway, is near Coptic church.
Father John Pesa 1, the head of the church, has seen it all.
“I have witnessed so many accidents here. Actually more than I can even remember and it really pains to see lives lost at the same spot,” said Fr Pesa.
The cleric blames the all too familiar happenings on failure by the government to enforce traffic rules and clearly map out black spots.
“Through the help of traffic police officers and other agencies, these black spots should be marked as the government works out solutions to end road carnage. It is a pity that so many lives have to be lost in the name of black spots,” said Pesa.
One of the victims of the deadly spot is Benga maestro Daniel Owino Misiani aka DO Misiani, who died on May 17, 2006. Misiani of Shirati Jazz Band lost his life after a bus rammed a matatu he was travelling in.
In July, four people died after the driver of a lorry lost control of the vehicle and hit a motorcycle before ramming an oncoming pick-up. In October two people perished at the same spot after a matatu veered off the road killing a boy, 12, and the owner of a kiosk nearby.
Michael Mboya, a dealer in construction blocks, blames the accidents on the narrow highway.
“We have lost too many people here and the number keeps growing,” said Mboya who helps rescue survivors.
However, he said most accidents go unreported, especially the hit and run cases at night.
“A week rarely goes without somebody being run over, hit, or a driver loses control of the vehicle and veers of the road,” he said.
“There is need for speed bumps here to stop drivers from speeding,” says Mboya.
Nyanza Regional Traffic Police Officer Senior Superintendent Andrew Naibei blamed the accidents on reckless motorists and defective vehicles.
“The Coptic Church area is the major black spot in Kisumu as Kisian and Nyamasaria do not register as many deaths. Motorists have contributed to that as most of them engage neutral gear as they descend downhill from Kiboswa to save fuel, and this has caused so many accidents,” says Mr Naibei.
He called on motorists to exercise caution when approaching the black spot.
“The road has been narrow alright, but right now it is being expanded. Once that is done and we keep witnessing accidents, then it will be motorists to blame. There is no need of speeding,” said Naibei.
Other black spots are Kisian along Kisumu-Busia Highway, and the dual carriage at Nyamasaria.
The dual carriageway from Kisumu town to Nyamasaria has claimed lives of about ten pedestrians in the last eight months.
Naibei regretted that most pedestrians do not cross the road at the designated areas.
Charles Akach, a civil servant who has lived near Coptic church since 2009, has borne the brunt of the accidents.
“My gate has been damaged several times with vehicles which get involved in the accidents I have witnessed for close to a decade I have been living there,” said Akach.
At one time he witnessed a head-on-collision between a car and a truck.
“The two vehicles rammed my gate, damaging it for the umpteenth time since I started staying there. All the occupants in the double cabin died on the spot. The images were bad,” he said.
He blamed the road carnage on drivers who engage free gear while going down hill and the lack of bumps.
“I have talked to the traffic police officers, the NTSA officials to look at that particular black spot as it is claiming so many lives but they would hear none of that,” said Akach.