By MUNYASYA MUSYA
A cross section of leaders in Kitui County today blamed the fatal road accident that claimed the lives of 10 primary school pupils in the area on the bad state of the Nairobi-Garissa highway.
Addressing mourners during the requiem mass for the victims of the grisly road accident at Mwingi Junior Seminary, the leaders asked the national government to ensure the road which connects Nairobi to Somalia was built to international standards in order to cater for the busy traffic along the road.
The requiem mass presided over by Archbishop Anthony Muheria was attended by Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka, Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed and her Foreign Affairs counterpart Monica Juma, Education PS Belio Kipsang’, Kitui MPs Enoch Wambua, Irene Kasalu, Gedion Mulyungi, Charles Nguna, Nimrod Mbai, Edith Nyenze, Rachael Nyamai, David Mwalika and scores of MCAs among others.
Kitui Governor Charity Ngilu however cautioned the other leaders against apportioning blame for the grisly accident but instead seriously commit themselves to addressing the root causes of such tragedies nationally.
“Let us not apportion blame because parents gathered here today are so heartbroken and do not care who did or didn’t do what. Let us not go out of this place grumbling but let’s commit to address all the problems that may have caused this accident”.
The Governor said her government will partner with the catholic church to build memorial stone at the accident site bearing the names of the deceased in their remembrance.
Mwingi Central MP Gedion Mulyungi and his Mwingi West counterpart Charles Nguna from whose constituencies most of the accident victims hailed from accused a contractor working on the Nairobi-Garissa highway of conducting shoddy works and leaving heaps of murram on the busy highway thereby congesting the passage of vehicles.
Former Kitui Senator David Musila said the site of the accident was a known blackspot on which hundreds of people from Kitui, Garissa, Mandera and Wajir have perished in the past and challenged the national government to redesign the road to international standards.
He also called on the government to set standards for construction of buses in the country in order to guarantee safety even in times of accidents.
Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka said were the Kibwezi-Kitui highway already tarmacked, the ill-fated school bus would have arrived in Mwingi before sunset. The accident occurred at 2130h at Kanginga near Mwingi town just a few minutes to their destination.
He lamented that the Kibwezi-Kitui tarmac roadworks was too slow and urged the national government to hasten the completion of the road and the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport corridor <LAPSSET> noting that the two highways were critical in boosting trade and economic development in the Horn of Africa.
During the accident which occurred late last week, 10 pupils of St. Gabriel Primary School perished while returning from a Mombasa tour