By Clement Kamau
Jubilee Party secretary-general Raphael Tuju, his driver and bodyguard were among 17 people who escaped death by a whisker when the vehicle they were travelling in collided head-on with a matatu at Magina on the Nairobi-Naivasha highway.
Tuju was headed to Kabarak to attend the burial of retired President Daniel arap Moi.
Central Region police commander Lumumba Adera said the 6.45am accident occurred when a 14-seater matatu belonging to Nuclear Sacco, which was attempting to overtake another vehicle, collided with Tuju’s car, a Toyota Prado.
“A motorist, Aloyce Suresh Obirika, was travelling to Nairobi and had slowed down to allow another vehicle in front that was branching to join a feeder road.
His vehicle was hit on the rear right side by another matatu. The other ill-fated matatu, driven by Benard Kariuki Muya, in a bid to avoid hitting the vehicle, swerved to the right and collided head-on with Tuju’s car,” he said.
Kijabe hospital chief executive Dr Ken Muma said there were 18 casualties.
Tuju , who was in the rear left seat, his driver Austin Oindo, 33, and bodyguard Charles Oyaro, 46, who was seated in front, were all airlifted to Nairobi, as doctors fought to stabilise the CS.
“Tuju is now in a stable condition. He will be airlifted to a hospital of his choice. All the other 17 patients are stable too,” he said.
His family was flown to Kijabe to see him before the transfer to Nairobi.
The family chose to ﬂy him to Karen Hospital, Nairobi. Tuju, 60, who is also a Cabinet Secretary without a portfolio, sustained chest and abdominal injuries.
His driver and bodyguard suffered a fractured right leg and a fracture of the right hand, respectively.
Sustain injuries The matatu driver suffered multiple injuries and was unconscious. Other casualties included Adiella Nalusu, who had chest injuries, and Jane Muthoni, 30, who sustained head injuries.
Police said some passengers sustained slight injuries including Simon Wachira Njeru 22, Daniel Wainaina, John Ndothua Mbaraga, Mercy Wambui Kabiri, Solomon Kiboi, Isaack Njuguna, David Kekunte, and Francis Njoroge Thiong’o. Others were Joseph Mbara Njau, Samuel Mwangi, Regina Nyambura and Paul Kiarie.
Initially, doctors were reluctant to allow Tuju to be ﬂown to Nairobi because of his condition.
At one point, the minister developed breathing problems and had to be rushed to the theatre to be stabilised.
The driver was admitted to the intensive care unit.
An eyewitness, Bedon Njonge, said the matatu driver appeared to have underestimated the speed of the Prado.
Sports Cabinet secretary Amina Mohamed, who was also headed for the same burial ceremony stopped and helped injured passengers.
ICT’s Joe Mucheru visited Tuju in hospital and cautioned Kenyans against abusing social media.
This was in reference to earlier misleading reports on Tuju. The extensively damaged cars were towed to Lari Police Station after trafﬁc police ofﬁcers cleared a major trafﬁc snarl-up, that stretched for kilometres on both sides of the scene.
Lari base commander Walter Kimani advised motorists to be extra careful while driving in the area, which is mostly foggy.