On Wednesday, October 10, 2018, Kenyans woke to heartbreaking news that at least 55 people had lost their lives after a bus accident at Fort Tenan in Kericho County.
The grisly accident involving a Home Boyz Kakamega-bound Bus was on Tuesday the topic of discussion on social media after the plates of the bus emerged online roping in Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya.
The governor had shared photos from the launch of a county water project and hawk-eyed netizens couldn’t help but notice a lorry bearing the plates of the ill-fated bus.
In the photo, the governor, who was in the company of the county leadership, is captured flagging off the lorry with registration number KBX 092J raising questions on what transpired nearly two years after the accident.
A section of Kenyans wondered whether the wreckage of the bus had been transformed into a truck and put back on the road.
Cases of illegal transformation of bus and truck chassis are not new in Kenya with former Nairobi County Deputy Governor Polycarp Igathe having warned the government of the danger involved in such reckless acts.
“Standards all over the world do not allow buses to use truck chassis, but in Kenya, many buses are fitted with these chassis. We are carrying Kenyans in coffins,” the current Equity Bank’s Chief Commercial Officer cautioned during a past Commercial Road Transport Conference at the Sarova Whitesands Hotel, Mombasa.
The owner of the Homeboyz bus was arrested after the 2018 accident after authorities found out that the bus registered under Western Cross Express Sacco was not licensed to operate at night.
The Kakamega businessman identified as Cleophas Shimanyula is said to enjoy a cordial relationship with local politicians among them the Kakamega Governor.
Shimanyula runs a cleaning firm that is reportedly contracted by the county government to collect garbage in Kakamega town.
This is apparently the reason why the lorry with the controversial bus plates was present during the Ksh90 million water project launch.
Here are some of the reactions online:
@GovWOparanya your so heartless this lorry that you used to launch water supply in Shinyalu is owned by Toto of homeboyz, months ago it killed our families in fort ternan.
from a bus it has now been converted into a lorry and everything is now normal….@KBonimtetezi pic.twitter.com/upzTVJLm59
— Sau'lshyder (@soulshyder) July 14, 2020
,Do you know Western Cross Company is being given money of garbage collection yet we have Oparanya youths doing the work.Oparanya is using Toto to milk every cent of this county. This is a picture of "Fort Tenan" Homeboyz killer bus sold to the county by Toto
— Faustine_🇰🇪♦♠ (@Faustine307) July 14, 2020
— BLACK AFRICAN (@Blackafrican254) July 14, 2020
Homeboyz Bus that killed over 45 people has now been converted to a Lorry 'Isuzu FVR" and in lucrative business with the KAKAMEGA County Government. Everything is possible.#UhuruNaKazi #tuesdayvibes #OnlineExamsKenya #vivoV19FirstSale
— Godwin Maranga (@xaviergodwyns) July 14, 2020
One of the regulations @ntsa_kenya have is that a lorry chassis not be used to make buses to reduce accidents. The Homeboys bus KBX 092J involved in an accident in Fort Tenan has been converted into a Lorry.#UhuruNaKazi #tuesdayvibes #vivoV19FirstSale #OnlineExamsKenya
— Hanifa Bintali (@BintaliHanifa) July 14, 2020