City family grieves loss of loved one killed in Lang’ata Road crash
Ms Lydia Karimi left her house in Ongata Rongai to attend her sister-in-law’s graduation celebration in Kahawa Sukari estate.
But sadly, Ms Karimi, who had turned 43 the previous day, did not make it to the celebration that fateful Sunday, September 25.
Her husband Kirianki M’Imanyara, a lecturer at the Cooperative University College, was away in Meru.
She planned to meet their only son Oscar Mugambi, a 21-year-old third-year computer science university student, on her way to the party.
She boarded a matatu christened “Schizophrenia”, registration number KCG 784M, and a few minutes later she was among four people who died when the driver lost control of the vehicle and it rolled just in front of a police station on Lang’ata Road.
Mr M’Imanyara said he heard about the fatal accident from a Good Samaritan who called him and simply informed him that his wife had been involved in an accident.
By the time he got to the scene, the victims had been taken to various hospitals.
Together with a friend, he searched for his wife at St Mary’s Hospital in Lang’ata and, when he did not see her there, went to Kenyatta National Hospital.
The frantic search ended when he finally found his wife’s body at the City Mortuary.
“This is not just the death of any other person,” said Mr M’Imanyara. “She was our hope, the family’s pillar.
“Death has robbed us of a wife and mother.”
Mr M’Imanyara described his wife of 21 years as a wonderful mother who was extremely friendly and religious and a dedicated worker.
His wife, he said, valued her marriage so much that she quit work twice to take care of the household and their son while he worked in Rwanda and South Africa.
Ms Karimi was an administrative assistant with an NGO in Upper Hill called Hand in Hand Eastern Africa. She was also studying for a degree in psychology as she aspired to work with the mentally ill at Mathari Hospital, Nairobi.
Mr Mugambi described his mother as an extrovert, likeable and very friendly.
“My mother was the opposite of me,” Mr Mugambi said. “She told me she wanted to work at Mathari Hospital.
“We used to compare our grades and her scores were better than mine because she had more As.”
Mr Mugambi had last seen his mother on September 20.
“I had been away for about two months and was to meet her the day she died,” he recalled. “I called her at around 1.30pm but her phone was answered by a woman called Susan.
“At first I thought she had left her phone with a friend.”
During the interview, father and son were calm, but Mr M’Imanyara called on the government to take stringent measures to end the road carnage.
“We usually come together to fight terrorism, HIV/Aids, malaria and such things but we forget to unite against the road carnage, which kills many more people,” he said as tears filled his eyes.
His son held him as they sat together at a particular spot Ms Karimi loved in the house.
Mr M’Imanyara called on members of Parliament to enact tough laws against flouting of traffic rules to reduce the number of deaths caused by careless driving.
“Here in Rongai, we have the police, National Transport and Safety Authority,” said the don. “We hear these matatus are owned by the police themselves but they keep breaking the rules.
“It is time the government took this issue seriously.”