By Jackline NYambura
Two weeks after the grisly road accident that led to death of his two children and that left another seriously injured, Erick Musyoki Manzi, 38 is yet to come to terms with the tragedy that befall his family on the morning of September 2.
When they woke up that morning little did the parents know that mourning was awaiting them and that it was the last time they would see their children alive. At around 6.30 am, minutes after three of his four children happily left for school at the Kandwia Primary, 4 kilometers away, Mr Manzi received information that they had been involved in a fatal accident at Kandwia area on the Mwingi- Kyuso road.
A speeding matatu namely Itumba had veered off the road after hitting another matatu namely Makandara and crashed to death Abednego Ngumbau Musyoki 12, Lucy Kavutha Musyoki, 5 (Manzi’s children and Josephat Muthui Musyoki, 10 in what was described by locals as a mad rush for passengers. This prompted angry residents to torch to ashes the two PSVvehicles and went on to barricade the busy road for three days in protest against reckless drivers.
To Mr Manzi’s family it was a double tragedy for his family as their daughter Mwende Musyoki 8, a third born who had miraculously survived the accident had her left leg amputated leaving her unable to walk to school or perform other chores.
Even after burying their two children Josephat (second born) who was in class four and his sister Lucy Kavutha (last born) who was an ECDE learner the family is grappling with another challenge of bringing up Mwende since she lost her leg after it was amputated at the Mwingi Level IV Hospital..
When media visited the family at Ilamba village in Kimu Location, Mwingi North constituency, it was evident that the family was still in a somber mood, days after they laid to rest their two angels last Saturday.
Villagers and relatives swarm the home located about 2 km from the scene of the accident to console Mr Manzi and his wife Elizabeth Muliwa, 32 who looked downhearted and distressed with the horrific accident that robbed them their children still fresh in their minds.
Ms Jane Ngoki, a paternal aunt to the little Mwende spoke on behalf of the family since the parents were overcome by emotions and could hardly narrate about the ordeal that had struck their young family.
Ngoki said the young girl was recovering well though the accident had rendered her helpless and immobile. “The stitched wound is doing well, she is recovering but it unfortunate she cannot walk as she used to do before she was hit by the matatu,” she said Ngoki who was among the first people to reach the scene of the accident
Ngoki who operates a food kiosk at the nearby shopping centre said she had to shut down her low income business to take care of her beloved niece.”I have to stay with her and take care of her,” she said.
She urged the government and well wishers to come to her aid. “She needs an artificial leg so that she can walk again,” Ngoki pleaded.
Her sentiments were shared by Mwende’s father who in a few words said she was unable to take care of her daughter’s “new and strange situation.”
“I only work as a mason and carpenter locally and can hardly raise money to acquire an artificial limb for my daughter,” said Mr Manzi adding that his spouse is a housewife.
Mr Mwanzia Muthui, the headteacher at Kandwia Primary school who joined the family during the interview said both teachers and pupils at his school were still haunted by the incident which cut short life of the promising young children and left Mwende with a serious disability.
“As a school we are very much affected. My teachers and pupils are emotionally hit by this tragedy,” said Mr Muthui, adding that learning at the institution was disturbed for more than a week as the community prepared for the burial of the three pupils.
He said the accident sparked fears among the parents and many of them have been forced to escort their children to school.
The school boss advised that Mwende needed to be taken to a boarding special school where she would adequately be taken care of. “She cannot come back to our school because she needs somewhere where she can get special attention of psychological counseling and treatment,” Muthui advised.
“At our school also there is a big challenge that she might fall prey to stigmatization by other pupils and that would adversely affect her education, at the special school she will be away from stigma” he said while describing Mwende as a top performer with a high potential of doing well in school.
“She is always among the top 15 scorers in her class and she has exhibited good skills in reading especially in the Tusome early literacy programme,” Mr Muthui said of her Standard one learner.
While calling on the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA) to reign on the firms of the killer vehicles which have led to death of 9 people in a span of two months, Mr Muthui called on the local community to moot a fund drive to help address the plight of Mwende.