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ANGER, Pain and Grief in Embu as 15 elders buried in mass ceremony

 The last rites of 15 people who perished last week in a grisly road accident along Muminji-Siakago road in Mbeere North Constituency, Embu County, were performed today in a solemn mass funeral at Kivue Primary School grounds.

The remains of part of 15 elderly people who died in a grisly road accident along Muminji-Siakago road. Leaders have called upon the government to take services closer to the people to avoid such unfortunate incidences like these in future. Photo/BRIAN MUSYOKA

The mass ceremony was conducted by Roman Catholic Diocese of Embu Bishop Paul Kariuki.

11 of the victims died on the spot when the 21-seater bus they were travelling in lost control and plunged into Thura River on November 16 while the other four died while receiving treatment at Embu Level Five Hospital. 

The bus according to authorities was at the time of the accident carrying 61 passengers majority of who were elderly persons heading to Siakago town to register for the Inua Jamii Cash Transfer Program.

Pain and grief engulfed families of the victims when caskets of the deceased were paraded at the school grounds in a ceremony that was marked by anger, blame game and calls for devolution of government services to the lowest levels possible.

The accident raised questions over poor traffic laws enforcement by area traffic police as well as the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) who came under sharp criticism over the unnecessary loss of innocent lives as the vehicle involved had been declared unroadworthy last year.

Declared unroadworthy

“This was not a normal accident and we are asking where the traffic police officers were if the vehicle had been declared unroadworthy and still on the road,” said Road Safety Association of Kenya Chairperson David Kiarie.

He blamed the two authorities for the accident and said they will be pushing for legal action to be taken against them for “sleeping on the job” as he also called on the government to compensate the victims.

Nominated MP Cecily Mbarire said it was unfortunate for the senior citizens to have lost their lives in pursuit of government services whereas it was in a position to serve them from their homes or areas closest to them.

“It was not a must for them to travel and we are calling for government services to be brought closer to the people, especially the vulnerable groups,” the MP said.

Her sentiments were echoed by her Runyenjes counterpart Eric Muchangi who said, “If the government is able to take ballot papers to the remotest of the areas, it is also possible to take other services closer to the people.”

The leaders also called for the government to help open up the area by improving roads in the area to make them motorable.

Other leaders who sent their condolence messages included Deputy President William Ruto and National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi.


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