Charles Muasya and Mutuku Mwangangi
Emotions ran high at St Joseph’s Junior Seminary in Mwingi during the requiem for 10 primary school pupils who perished in a tragic road accident near Mwingi town last week.
Relatives and friends of the deceased, who were to sit Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination in three- months time sat pensively behind the portraits of the victims as Archbishop Anthony Muheria led the service.
Most stricken was Joseph Munyithya, Constituency Development Fund member of Mwingi West Constituency whose two children James Muthui and Andrea Kasyoka perished in the accident.
“I leave it all to God who gave us the two boys and decided to take them away the same day and same hour,” he said.
Of the 10 children, nine were in Standard Eight. Others were Benard Tito, Winnie Mbete Mumo, Vivian Wawira, Stephen Mulyungi, Kennedy Matei Joy Wambui and Joy Mwangangi while Caleb Kavandi was in Class Seven.
Former Mwingi Central Member of County Assembly Benard Mwangangi, whose daughter Joy Mutanu died in the crash claimed the accident was caused by poor workmanship of Thika-Garissa road.
The deceased classmates recounted the events of the day saying they left Mombasa shortly before mid-day and took the shorter Kibwezi-Mutomo route reaching the black spot by 9pm.
“We had dropped some of our colleagues in Kitui town and Mbondoni and as we approached Kanginga River, all what we saw was a lorry coming from the opposite direction and within seconds, we were not ourselves and those survived gained consciousness at Mwingi Level Four hospital,” said the St Gabriel Primary School President Peter Mutua.
Archbishop Muheria asked education stakeholders implement policies on transportation of pupils to curb road accidents. “We need to come up with policies and guidelines to ensure safety of our children on the roads,” said Muheria adding that there is need to counsel the schools community and the affected families to cope with the trauma.
Earlier, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and her Foreign Affairs counterpart Dr Monica Juma toured the scene of the accident before inspecting the vehicles involved in the accident at Mwingi Police Station.