, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 31 – This is a tale not of two cities but of two women who previously having never met, suffered the same fate; they boarded a bus destined for trouble.
On that fateful Wednesday morning, 33-year-old Ada Ayako Amuko got onto the bus at 6:45am.
It was on the corner of Umoja Phase Two at the ‘First Love’ stage and having to be at the office by 8am she was eager to get moving.
“When I got to the stage there was one matatu called Utimo but it didn’t have people. Immediately UmoInner arrived and you see when another matatu comes the one that is there leaves. When UmoInner came it had some passengers almost to the full, that’s why I got in, I wanted to reach town before 8am,” she explains.
Forty-one year old Florence Nyakwaka’s story isn’t much different. She too was running late and though initially reluctant to get onto the UmoInner bus, her need to get to work on time got the better of her.
“Since last week I’ve never boarded that bus. I’ve been taking Double M so yesterday I went to the stage then unfortunately I didn’t find Double M then when I turned up I saw UmoInner… so many of them. People were not boarding them then I decided let me just go and board it because I was rushing I wanted to go and do some work,” she recounts.
The reluctance the University of Nairobi Record’s Officer felt before boarding the UmoInner bus can be explained by the fact that barely a week before the accident she and her daughter had been robbed at gun point on the very same fleet.
“It was Tuesday last week at 7am in the morning. I was taking my daughter back to school. She is a form four candidate. When the conductor got off claiming to go look for change, three men with pistols got on. They took everything, including the Sh10,000 that was my daughter’s school fees balance. The driver had jumped off so I can say it’s a trend. They’re used to jumping out when there’s danger.”
Nevertheless, a week later Florence broke her promise to herself and boarded an UmoInner bus; making her way to the centre of the bus, on the same side as the passenger door.
On the way to her seat Florence unknowingly passed by Ada who sat two or three rows behind the driver, both women’s minds preoccupied with getting to work on time.
And as it turns out the bus crew too was eager to get to the city centre as soon as possible.
“The conductor suggested to the driver that we use the Donnie (Donholm) route but the driver said it would be faster to connect to the Outering road through Mutindwa market,” Florence remembers.
And according to Florence the bus driver had no qualms breaking a few traffic rules to get to his destination faster.
“I remember the traffic police man at the Mutindwa junction trying to flag us down because we were going down the wrong side of the road but before we got to him the driver turned into the railway line.
Ada too remembers seeing the officer but she can’t remember seeing him flag them down, “yes, there was a policeman in blue but I didn’t see him try and stop us.”