12 October 2018

Kenya: Killer Bus Driver Complained of Faulty Brakes, Sons Say

Photo: Ondari Ogega/Daily Nation
The scene of a bus crash in Kericho on October 10, 2018.

The son of the driver of the killer bus says his father had informed him that the brakes were faulty, the reason the deceased was hesitant to continue with the job.

Mr Johnson Chogo told the Nation his father complained he was being forced to use much energy in engaging the brakes and was considering quitting.

"On the fateful morning as he left home for work, he told me the bus' brakes were faulty. He was hesitant to continue with the job because the management was not keen on fixing the problem," Mr Chogo said.

He added: "That was the last we talked until we heard about the accident."

The Nation could not establish the authenticity of the family's claims because the two people who run the Homeboyz bus company - Bernard Ishiundu and Cleophas Shimanyula - are in police custody following their arrest on Wednesday evening.

EXPERIENCE

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 Homeboyz 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.

Was he fatigued? Sleepy? Sabotaging? Only authorities will know through investigations. Blamed for arrogance to passengers and careless driving, the man is not alive to face the outcome of his actions.

MATATU

He died in the horrendous crash together with scores of women, men and children, who had moments before their death, warned, pleaded and even threatened him hoping 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 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 were perched on a wooden bench, outside a mud-walled tin-roof house looking through the ground as though to find answers.

LICENCE

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

Bus one of the bus owners, Mr Shimanyula, said it was in good condition.

The old man may have continued with the job, perhaps feeling he had no choice if he was to earn his 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 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.

More on This

Owner, Manager of Killer Bus Detained Amid Probe

Molo court has detained for 10 days the owner and sacco manager of the Home Boyz bus that crashed on Wednesday at Fort… Read more »

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