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Clergy pray at scene of crash, call on agencies to curb road carnage

Church leaders have asked the road safety agencies to put in place stringent measures to help curb accidents.

Speaking at the scene of the Saturday night accident at Karai, Naivasha, where 43 people perished, Bishop Arthur Kitonga of the Redeemed Gospel Church, said it was unfortunate that some incompetent drivers were allowed on the roads.

He said others drove under the influence of drugs and alcohol, posing danger to other road users.

“The issue of road safety should be the number one priority for the government and agencies tasked with safety, including the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA),” said Bishop Kitonga.

He called for proper marking of the speed humps erected on busy roads and the placement of signages to direct motorists.

The bishop led other religious leaders in offering prayers at the spot, where 13 vehicles involved in the accident were burnt.

While at the spot, he called on the government to involve religious leaders when commissioning new roads.

Africa Independent Pentecostal Church of Africa Bishop George Mwadime Kariuki asked the government to station qualified First Aiders at the black spots on the highways.

Local MCA and church leader Samuel Waithuki opposed the removal of the speed bumps, saying many people had lost their lives at the spot before the humps were erected. Locals attended the one-hour service dedicated to those who died.

PURSUING DRUNK DRIVERS

At the same time, lawyers are laying into the NTSA for overlooking key aspects of road safety and instead pursuing drunk drivers.

In a statement yesterday, the Law Society of Kenya said the NTSA’s strategy for ensuring road safety was flawed as it was not focusing on other causes of road accidents.

“This unfortunate tragedy has shown us that it must address its mandate holistically. It cannot be just speeding and drink driving,” said LSK president Isaac Okero.

The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) said, in the aftermath of the accident, that it had erected the bumps at Karai following “demands” from the locals, who were protesting against increasing accidents caused by speeding motorists.

On Sunday, some eyewitnesses said the light truck involved knocked the bump before the driver lost control, hitting oncoming vehicles, a claim that KeNHA promptly refuted, saying the accident was caused by “careless driving.”

Road Safety Association of Kenya chairman David Njoroge said it was wrong for the bumps to be erected along the busy highway with no signage. The association had on Monday threatened to got to court to sue KeNHA over the bumps.

On Wednesday, LSK said the NTSA whose mandate is to regulate road transport system has been in a “very visible and effective campaign” against speeding and drunk driving but silent on advising relevant government authorities on certain aspects of road safety.

“The erecting of illegal speed bumps is just one area in which the NTSA appears to have dropped the ball. There is much more the NTSA should be doing. And there is need to explain to Kenyans why it has failed to do so.”

Reported by Macharia Mwangi, Aggrey Mutambo and Magdalene Wanja

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