Parents say boy’s death was caused by ‘sheer negligence’

The boy was ran over by the back wheels of the bus when he fell down through an opening on the floor of the bus. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 
The six-year-old boy was very jovial as he prepared to go to school for the closing day.
He had carried enough snacks for the school’s closing ceremony at St Augustine’s Preparatory School in Mombasa.
Unfortunately, his life was cut short after he was crushed to death by a school bus in which he was in riding.
The pupil died on the spot at 6.30am on Wajir Road in Majengo.
The boy was ran over by the back wheels of the bus when he fell down through an opening on the floor of the bus. 
The boy fell down through this opening on the floor of the bus. PHOTO | EUNICE MURATHE | NATION MEDIA GROUP
The death has raised many questions about the safety of students riding in school buses in Mombasa. Parents said the bus was unroadworthy, adding that it was bought in 1995.
Coast traffic commandant Emmanuel Okanda said his department will comment on whether the bus was unroadworthy or not after they get a comprehensive report from experts who are currently assessing the bus.
“We understand that the emotions of the parents are high as of now for them to make any comments but the bus is currently under the National Transport and Safety Authority undergoing inspection,” he said. reporters saw cracks and holes on the floor of the old and rusty bus.
The boy’s grandmother was at a loss after getting news of the death of her first grandson.
“I have been taking care of the boy and his sister ever since they were born. I became their mother and father after my daughter, who is their mother, went to work abroad a year ago,” she said.
She said her grandson woke up at 5:15am, showered and wore his uniform ready to go to school.
The grandmother said she wanted to take them to school but changed her mind and tasked the sister to take care of him instead.
Serah Kessi (left), the headteacher of St Augustine’s Preparatory School, and pupils from the school at the scene of the accident in Majengo, Mombasa. PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP
“I had some strange instincts, something was telling he shouldn’t go very early since they were going to close. I followed him to the gate and told him to use the same bus coming home at 12pm. I instructed his sister not to leave his brother alone,” she added.
The heart broken grandmother said she does not have the strength to reveal to her daughter about the passing of her dearest son.
She said the boy was happy because after closing school he was preparing to welcome his mother, who was to arrive in a month’s time.In fact, two days ago, the grandmother said the boy had demanded to talk to his mother through Skype saying he missed her. However, he was shown only her pictures and he was happy.
It was the last time he saw his mother’s portrait.
“He normally uses his uncle’s laptop to Skype with his mother. When we texted the mother, she said in a month’s time she will be home.
“She asked about her children’s welfare and I told her they were all fine. How do I start telling her son is no more?” she asked, tears in her eyes.
She said the boy was a blessing to the family.
“He made me wake up early every weekday. I loved him but God loved him more. I don’t know why it happened,” she said. 
Human rights groups in the coastal region, including Haki Africa and the Commission for Human Rights and Justice, demanded action against the school management over the accident.
A parent, who requested anonymity, revealed to the Nation that parents had noticed the bus needed repairs and even used to donate cash for maintenance but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
A sombre mood engulfed the school after more than 20 parents joined in consoling the grandmother.
“This is pure negligence. This bus is very old, it was bought in 1995 and it does a lot of out-of-school activities such as weddings, funeral services, trips and ferrying churchgoers,” said parent Austin Ouma. 
The school management said they would issue a statement later about the accident.
Mr Okanda said the bus driver presented himself at a police station and investigations were under way.
MPs recently passed new regulations in the 2016 Traffic (Amendment) Bill passed by the National Assembly that touch on safety of school buses. President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the Bill today.
According to the Bill, a motor vehicle designated to transport children to or from school, or for any non-school related activity, must be fitted with safety belts designed to be used by children.

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