President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga on Wednesday led Kenyans in mourning 50 people who perished in a horror crash that occurred in Fort Ternan, Kericho County.
The accident occurred after a bus belonging to Western Cross Roads Sacco crashed in an area locals call Tunnel on the Londiani-Muhoroni road, with eyewitnesses putting the time of the accident at about 4am.
The 67-seater bus is said to have veered off the road while descending a steep slope. The bus then hit a guard rail, rolled and plunged down about 20 metres, where it landed on a rocky farm.
Kericho County Police Commanders said those who died are 31 men, 12 women and 7 children. Two of them died while receiving treatment in nearby hospitals.
President Kenyatta, in a tweet, sent his condolences to the bereaved, and asked drivers to be vigilant and “exercise caution to avoid such catastrophic incidents.”
The Head of State also wished those who have been taken to Fort Ternan, Kericho and Muhoroni hospitals for treatment, a quick recovery.
Mr Odinga tweeted: “I send my deepest condolences to the friends and families who have lost their loved ones in the horrific accident that occurred at Fort Ternan. May the souls of all the departed rest in eternal peace. I appeal to police officers to arrest the return of madness on our roads.”
Amani National Congress (ANC) leader Musalia Mudavadi, on the other hand, described the accident as “yet another blot on the country’s traffic enforcement agencies.”
“The scene of the disaster is a known blackspot that remains unmanned even as the death toll from accidents at the spot has continued to increase. Part of the problem at the blackspot is poor road design. The road snakes dangerously through winding steep slopes, while the tunnel flyover is a death trap,” Mr Mudavadi said in a statement.
“It is sad that the more effort is put into streamlining traffic operations, the more [lethargic] the personnel become. It is common knowledge that traffic enforcement is not anymore about saving lives but enclaves for collecting bribes,” he went on.
Mr Mudavadi also blamed the culture of bribes among traffic police officers.
“It is not clear whether the traffic management still exists as a unit within the police department after indications it was scrapped. Traffic management is a specialised field and opening it to all police officers untrained in traffic administration is courting danger on our roads,” he said.
Ford-Kenya leader Moses Wetang’ula said that traffic offenders must be punished to deter future accidents.
“The return of the nightmare on our roads through accidents is unwelcome. Offenders must be punished to deter recklessness. Law enforcers sleeping on the job are equally guilty! I condemn the Fort Ternan accident. Victims’ families must be compensated,” Mr Wetang’ula said on Twitter.