10 November 2017

Kenya: Gakuru Crash - Dt Dobie to Probe If Mercedes Benz Was Faulty

Detectives investigating the accident that killed Nyeri Governor Wahome Gakuru have sought the assistance of Mercedes Benz franchise holder DT Dobie, tyre maker Pirelli and the Transport ministry in the inquiry.

The police started investigations into the crash as Deputy Governor Mutahi Kahiga said he would only be sworn in as the county's third governor after the burial of Dr Gakuru, scheduled for November 18.

Mr Kahiga told the Nation that he would take the oath of office after his boss has been laid to rest.

"We are not in a hurry to hold the swearing-in ceremony. We are focusing on burial arrangements and ensuring that we give our governor a befitting send-off," he said.

However, teachers in the county, led by Kenya National Union of Teachers executive secretary Zachary Mathenge, demanded the immediate swearing in of Mr Kahiga, a former trade unionist.

POWER VACUUM

They argued that there should be no power vacuum.

On Thursday, it was revealed that a team of detectives from both the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and Traffic Police was leading the inquiry and would rely on DT Dobie, Pirelli and the Transport ministry to inspect the governor's car and the scene of the crash.

In an interview with the Nation, Central regional police boss Gideon Amala said: "At the moment, I cannot reveal details of the investigations but all angles are being reviewed. We are not just relying on witness accounts but also findings from the inspection of the scene and the vehicle."

DT Dobie, according to the police, will conduct an inspection of the governor's vehicle to establish if it was faulty during the trip from Nyeri. The company will also ascertain when the car was last serviced.

The vehicle, according to a police report, was fitted with Pirelli tyres. The firm will analyse the wheels to establish if there was a tyre burst during the accident.

CAUSE OF ACCIDENT

Earlier police reports indicated that the cause of the accident was a tyre burst. Pirelli will determine whether the burst occurred before or after the car crashed into the guard rails at Kabati.

The ministry will analyse the guard rails to check if they had been properly installed and establish their structural integrity.

The car broke 11 concrete pillars supporting guard rails. A metal rail went through the car, seriously injuring the governor, his bodyguard and aide.

"The ministry will give a report on how strong the pillars were and how the rails were fitted, and what velocity can break such concrete pillars," said Mr Amala.

Using the information, the detectives will determine the speed at which the vehicle was moving when it crashed into the rails.

A team from the regional traffic headquarters has since Tuesday been combing the scene of the accident and scrutinising the car wreckage for clues of what actually happened on the ill-fated morning.

VIP PROTECTION

It is understood that the governor was still being orientated on daily tasks and operations of his VIP protection team.

Kenyans online have raised questions over guard rails on our roads. Some took issue with the design of the rails. They claimed that designs on some roads were not up to standard.

"Did you know the guard rails on our roads are supposed to curl off to the side in case of an accident?" said Mercy Murugi on Twitter.

Nimo Matiko tweeted that the country should consider removing the guard rails, warning that they may continue to cause deaths on the roads.

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