NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 27- They painted a picture of pain and desperation,inflicted to them by Nganya’s and Manyanga’s, terms used to describe a section of ‘classy’ public service vehicles plying along the Magadi road, where their school is located.
It was what the students of Multi-Media University termed as the epitome of impunity by the rogue Rongai drivers, specifically those of the Ongata Line Sacco, whose license has since been de-registered by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).
But what agitated the students to an extent of braving teargas and live bullets, that saw six people injured, three of them being students?
It is the accident that occurred on Sunday and claimed 18 years old Cynthia Akoth, a first year Mass Communication student, whom classmates describes as, “a social, cool and focused person” that led to the protest.
Jurisa Nyaboke, joined Campus the same day with Akoth and knew her very well, and they had even exchanged their dreams and expectations while at and after school.
Having worked hard and attained a grade to pursue the course, the students had vowed to reciprocate their High School efforts, in a bid to achieve their goals.
“Cynthia was my first friend in this school… we just met when we were queuing to pay our school fees,” Nyaboke narrated, during an interview with Capital News. “She had gone to visit her auntie in Kahawa West but unfortunately she died.”
According to her, Akoth was, “assertive, very focused and never late in class .”
Those were sentiments made by students as they poured praises to their departed colleague, who due to the continued impunity by the drivers won’t manage to see her dreams come true.
“Akoth joined the school from Migori County to scale the heights of education…but you (the rogue drivers) killed her,” the students would be heard saying.
The school’s Chief Security Officer Francis Mugambi confirmed that they had sought help from the National Transport and Safety Authority about two months ago over the reckless driving in the route, but no action was taken.
“The students are frustrated since they do not know who they are going to turn to,” he said.
The vehicles, according to students and residents of Rongai, are known of their loud music and speeding which is coupled with impunity.
“Before you get to town (Nairobi) from Rongai, the vehicles are normally driven by about 6 drivers, some of whom are drunk,” a student told Capital News. “While the rest of the vehicles follow the traffic, they don’t. They are just reckless”
The vehicles have put Rongai in the ‘Kenyan map’, for their impunity that has claimed tens of lives.
Like in the Sunday’s accident that claimed Akoth’s life, four people died, while 8 are still admitted to hospital with serious injuries.
Four of the people injured had life-threatening injuries according to police.
The matatu was ferrying passengers from Ongata Rongai to the city centre when the accident happened near Langata Police Station at mid-day.
The driver of the matatu lost control as he approached a roundabout and veered off the road allegedly to avoid hitting a car.
Even as the county officials repair a section of the guard rail that was destroyed during the accident, one can only hope that lessons were learnt.
The University student leader Omwayo Maranga insinuated that the about 200 vehicles belonging to Ongata Line Sacco are owned by influential people.
“The police have failed to crackdown on them despite the public outcry…they are owned by powerful cartels,” he said. “But we shall boycott them till the drivers reform.”
Three students are among six people who were shot and seriously injured by police when they went to quell riots by the students.
But the protests that began peacefully turned chaotic when police lobbed teargas and opened fire to disperse the rioters who had blocked sections of Magadi Road outside the university, paralyzing transport for hours.
All those injured were first treated at the Nairobi Women’s Hospital in Ongata Rongai before some of them were transferred to the Kenyatta National Hospital for specialized treatment, according to a medic at the hospital.
Following multiple interviews at the hospital and with students, Capital News established that two of those shot were Multimedia University students while the third was is a student at Moi University who had gone to visit a friend.
Two others were guards at Multimedia, while two were by-standers hit by bullets during the violent confrontation.