Pwani University: 'We were going for success... We met death'


A slipper here, a bottle of water there and blood-soaked books everywhere.

Such was the horror at the Kayole area, the scene of the Thursday midday accident along the Nairobi Nakuru Highway between a Pwani University bus and a PSV van.

The lives of 14 people tragically ended at this spot.

A journey that had started at midnight in Kilifi, towards Eldoret for an Interuniversity sports event at the University of Eldoret ended fatally and abruptly.

The remains told of a journey both the students and the passengers of the 14-seater matatu had hoped to finish, happily and successfully.

When the twisted wreckage was towed from the scene at midday yesterday, it suggested the violence with which the victims had died.

Ian Okoth, 22, a footballer survived the accident that some of his peers did not.

The second-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Philosophy was still reeling from the shock of surviving an accident some of his team members had survived.  

He reminisced about the tiresome preparation and how determined they were.

“We were going for success. We met death,” he said. “I'm grateful that I survived.”

When it was evident that the driver had lost brakes, he recounted, he tied his safety bells and immersed himself in prayers and quietly waited for whatever would happen when they clutch.

“I didn’t know it would be the end of seeing some of my colleagues who were very jovial a few moments ago,” the 22-year-old footballer said.

"The team was in high spirits," he added.

Pwani University administration said 120 learners, four drivers and one sports officer left the institution for the games in Eldoret. The driver of the bus did not survive.

Onlookers at the accident scene where students from Pwani University were involved in an accident along Nakuru-Nairobi road.

Kennedy Amungo I Nation Media Group

They were in separate buses. Female volleyballers, some male volleyballers and handballers were in another bus, said Dorothy Chemos, a volleyballer.

She went on, "Male and female footballers were in the bus that had the accident."

“I only remember seeing the driver of the ill-fated bus overtaking us on the wrong side at a high speed and wondered what could be happening. In the confusion of the moment, our driver slowed down as we started reaching out to our colleagues on the other bus,” the fourth year bachelor's of education student narrated. “When we stopped, we only saw a group of people quickly gathering ahead of us and we disembarked, we realised that the other bus that had some of our colleagues had perished as the school bus lay by the ditch.”

Kenya University Students Organisation (Kuso) President Antony Manyara called upon Transport CS Murkomen to ensure that learning institutions school buses are serviced especially whenever it is bound for a long-distance journey.

“Just maybe, we would have saved the lives of these comrades,” he said.

His deputy Tabitha Rachel said they would mobilised students wherever they are to donate blood if need be. 

"We are in solidarity with the affected students and victims and will provide assistance whenever called upon," she said.

Both the matatu and the bus were headed to Nakuru, the police said. 

The Naivasha Hospital Sub County medical superintendent Bernard Warui said a total of 16 fatalities had been recorded by Thursday evening.

"We have 86 victims from the morning accident," he told the Nation.

On Thursday evening, police dispersed using teargas Pwani University students protesting deaths of their 17 colleagues in an accident in Naivasha claiming the driver had complained the vehicle was not roadworthy.

The students had congregated at the university grounds in Kilifi town to mourn the deceased.

After a press briefing, they walked out of the university and demonstrated alleged negligence by the administration.

pwani university bus accident

A Pwani University bus on the Naivasha-Nakuru highway on March 30, 2023, following a collision with a matatu.

Macharia Mwangi | Nation Media Group

Those who succumbed when the bus they were in crashed were headed to Eldoret University-Chepkoilel for national games.

The students said they suspected the car had mechanical problems that led to the brake failure.

Led by Pwani University Student Association [ PUSA] President Allan Ochieng, they called on Vice Chancellor Prof Mohamed Rajab to state the condition of the vehicle before it departed for Eldoret.

The demands by the students come even as learning was suspended from Thursday until next week on Monday.

Addressing the press, Mr Ochieng said the sports team consisted of football, handball, hockey and volleyball players.

“A team from the University has been sent to Naivasha to assess the situation and ensure our colleagues get quality treatment. Some who survived are in the Intensive Care Unit [ICU],” he said.

PUSA Deputy President Wincate Nzinyari said it has been hard for them to accept the news about the accident and asked God to give strength to the families of the deceased.

“We want the University to tell us about the insurance cover and how the family will get compensation,” she said.

pwani university bus accident

The scene on the Naivasha-Nakuru highway, where a Pwani University bus landed in a ditch after colliding with a matatu on March 30, 2023, leaving at least 16 people dead.

Macharia Mwangi | Nation Media Group

PUSA Secretary General Kelvin Nyambura called on the students and parents to be calm adding the deaths had hit the rest of the university population hard.

“We want the university to assure us of the safety of the vehicles when they leave the compound. We have learnt that the driver was complaining about the vehicle’s brake,” he claimed.

A student, Christopher Chumo, said they got information about the accident from Twitter and news in the media. 

President William Ruto also mourned the dead students.

"Our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those who lost loved ones in the Naivasha accident involving a Pwani University bus. It's heartbreaking that some of the fatalities were young citizens with a promising future. We pray for the speedy recovery of the survivors," the president said through a Twitter post.    BY DAILY NATION   

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