12 October 2018

Kenya: Driver of Killer Bus Succumbs to Injuries, Takes Secrets to the Grave

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Photo: Isaac Wale/Nation
Family and friends mourn the death of five victims of the Fort Ternan crash in Muluanda, Kakamega County on October 11.

For as long as Kenya has been independent, Mr Lucas Asang'asa had quietly lived through it; seeing the country's main highways transition from dirt tracks to the deadly thoroughfares we know today.

On Wednesday morning, he was behind the wheels when his Home Boyz bus, operated by Western Cross Express Sacco plunged passengers in a ravine, killing 55 of them. By last evening, the toll had risen to 58.

Born in Vihiga County in 1946, his family says he has about 50 years of experience driving on Kenyan roads.

CARELESS DRIVING

Was he fatigued? Sleepy? Sabotaging? Only authorities will know through investigations. Blamed for arrogance to passengers and careless driving, the old man is not alive carry it.

He died in the horrendous crash together with scores of women, men and children, who had moments before their death, warned, pleaded, shouted, reprimanded and even threatened him and did everything possible to make him a little more careful.

He and his conductor identified as Victor Mudvikisa Asava, 29, reportedly ignored it all. They both died through the chaos.

The old man used to drive long-haul goods transportation lorries, often staying away from home, traversing districts from Mombasa to Busia and beyond.

Later, family members say, he changed to public passenger vehicles driving matatus before joining the long-range buses.

He comes from Shamakhokho in Hamisi, in today's Vihiga County. When the Nation visited his home, his two sons perched on a wooden bench, outside a mud-walled tin-roof house, looking through the ground as though to find answers.

COMPLAINED OF BRAKES

Mr Chogo, 42 and Steward Kikuyu told Nation their father had complained about the condition of the bus before he left home for work.

One of the bus owners, Mr Shimanyula had defended the bus as being in good condition.

The old man may have continued with the job, perhaps feeling he had no choice if he were to earn a daily bread. But it was deadly; no seat belts; no licence to operate at night and no fixed schedule.

Mr Asang'asa, nicknamed 'Abdallah', had four wives and together they reportedly had 20 children.

Not a man to sit down and face poverty in the eye, he left home early, picking up jobs as a hired driver before getting routine employment.

Homeboyz was the second bus company he worked for before he met his death in a horrendous accident.

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