Another chapter turns in Kibaki road accident

Published on 06/06/2009

By Mutinda Mwanzia and Daniel Nzia

About seven years after the road crash that nearly killed President Kibaki, two families cry for justice and decry what they perceive as neglect by the State.

They are hurting because they feel Kibaki could at least have come to their rescue. These are the families of Mutungi Musau and Mutuku Muia who died after Kibaki’s Range Rover plunged into a ditch as his driver swerved to avoid two matatus that crashed into each other right ahead.

Mwingi South MP David Musila led Kibaki’s rescue, having left his car and ran to the foundation of a building 10-feet below where Kibaki lay in a heap — and in pain. Musila recalls feeling pain on his feet then, apparently because he had left his shoes in his car and thorns had pricked him.

Musau, then aged 20, and a bachelor, was a tout in the matatu that was hit while Muia was a passenger. Muia was married and had three children. Both died on the spot.

The ditch where Kibaki who was heading to Nairobi after campaigning in Kitui and Mwingi districts nearly lost his life has been refilled and is a petrol station. Kibaki fractured his right arm, dislocated an ankle and injured his neck.

VIP treatment

While Kibaki was given emergency treatment in Nairobi before being flown to the Wellington Hospital in North West London, the other victims were left to their grief — that still gnaws at the heart of their distraught families and relatives.

Mama Elizabeth Wavinya is a widow, with the crashing burden of looking after three children. Her daily routine is running a simple grocery and retail shop at Kathome trading centre.

“Life is harsh and the pain of losing my husband is still in my heart. I don’t want to revisit the incident please,” she says, with sadness.

Her firstborn son could not continue with his secondary education after his father’s death. “It is a painful experience,’’ says Wavinya, after she reluctantly agreed to speak to our team this week.

Unberable burden

Two other children have cleared Form Four but further education is an unbearable burden. The bitterness and sense of loss at the late Musau’s home is astounding. A visit to their humble home in Kithini Village, some 10km from Machakos town, shows the pain the family has undergone since the death of their third born.

Poverty welcomes visitors to the compound, which is dotted with three semi-permanent structures. Mama Kalondu Mutungi, 56, is dejected. Her tiny two-room mud brick house, with unplastered walls and floor, illustrate the family’s daily struggle.

“The loss of my son greatly affected me and I am yet to recover. He was a loving and dutiful child despite his humble job as a tout,” says Kalondu.

In an interview with The Standard on Saturday, her pain was palpable as she stared in the blank space before her, for lack of words. That was the ground her son usually interacted with her and his family.

“Which parent would not be touched by the loss of a child and, especially at such a tender age?” asked Kalondu.

Her pain is that years after the accident, no word has been forthcoming from Kibaki or his aides. Efforts to meet him have been futile.

“The Government only provided a coffin and a Land Rover to ferry the body from the mortuary in Machakos town to our home during the funeral. That is all we got,” recalls Kalondu.

Share agony

The family had to sell two bulls to raise money to give their kin a decent burial. “The accident robbed us of our son and on top of that it made us poorer,” says Kalondu.

But she lauds the Kithini village funeral committee for supplementing the family’s meagre resources during the burial. The old woman, who ekes out a living by tilling her small shamba, says she would like to meet Kibaki and share with him the pain of losing her son.

“I feel we have been ignored since nobody cared for us after the loss. It is even more distressing Kibaki is the President. I wish I could have an opportunity to meet him and share my agony,” says Kalondu.

She says the Government should have found ways of compensating the families of the deceased, especially after Kibaki won the election.

But through the efforts of her lawyer, Kalondu and her family got some compensation from Concorde Insurance Company Ltd, the firm that had insured Kibaki’s vehicle.

Musau’s elder brother, Anthony Ndambuki, also at loss, says: “I made efforts through the former Machakos Town MP Daudi Mwanzia to seek audience with Kibaki, but that came to nought,” he recalls.

The former MP recalls he tried to have the families compensated but Government officials frustrated him. “I firmly believe the families deserve more,” said Mwanzia.

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