Two crew members of an Umoinner Sacco matatu impounded by National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) last September have died in a horror road smash.
The two identified as “Hillary” and “Kevo Mdogo” died along Jogoo Road last night.
According to an eye witness, the matatu, christened Mastermind attempted to overtake a private Nissan motorist on the left side, only to find a lorry that had stalled on the road. In the loud melee of music and flashy green lights, the driver steered to the right but it was too little too late. The matatu brushed against the side of the lorry, flinging the duo into the air and onto the cold tar.
“At first, I thought he had hit boda boda guys and was trying to escape, only to learn that the guys on the road had come from the matatu whom I suspect they were hanging on the door,” said Daniel Irungu who witnessed the accident. “Two young guys died on the spot and two others are taken to hospital by the matatu ‘crew’… they knew all of the victims of the accident.”
In the September incident, the uniquely green matatu was captured on video being driven recklessly along an unidentified road in Central Kenya. The matatu was in a convoy of others. Ummoiner Sacco plies the Nairobi CBD-Umoja-Innercore route.
“The driving license and PSV license of the driver have been suspended for a period of six months. He will be required to undergo driver re-test for the authority to ascertain his competencies before the licenses are reinstated,” NTSA said in a statement after this incident.
The authority said that the vehicle had been impounded by the police and a prohibition order issued on it. It is not clear whether the killer matatu went through compliance inspection, or whether it was being driven by a different driver in yesterday’s accident.
“Michuki (John, former Transport Minister) must be very angry with NTSA and the Inspector General Police for allowing this lawlessness,” wrote the lobby group Motorists Association of Kenya on Facebook. “The blood of the two young men is on the IG and Chairman and DG (Director General)”.
“My condolences goes to families of the two young men,” wrote Mugambi Mark, Umoja 1 ward MCA, on Facebook.
Kenyans on social media, while mourning the senseless loss of the two lives condemned matatus for their reckless behaviour on the road, which fuels these accidents.
It’s fashionable for touts of these garishly decorated matatus (known as ‘Manyanga’ or ‘Nganya’ in street lingo) to hang precarious from the door as the vehicle is moving at speed, horn blaring, tannoys even more, passengers giggling inside.
“Let’s be safe on our roads out there above all, ask for God’s protection always,” says Irungu.