Untold Story of Killer Enziu River & the Empty Promises That Follow Each Incident

Mwingi residents mill around the accident scene where a bus drowned with 30 wedding guests on board at Enziu River in Mwingi on Saturday, December 4, 2021.
Mwingi residents mill around the accident scene where a bus capsized with 30 wedding guests on board at Enziu River in Mwingi on Saturday, December 4, 2021.

The Country was on Saturday, December 4, hit by tragedy after a bus estimated to have at least 60 passengers on board, plunged into River Enziu, Kitui County.

The tragedy, which was documented in a one minute, two seconds amateur video, has hit headlines not only in Kenya but across the world.

So far, a total of 25 bodies have been retrieved from the River and 10 others rescued, taken to the to the Mwingi Hospital where they are receiving treatment.

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To avert such incidents in the future, Kitui Deputy Governor Dr. Wathe Nzau stated that the County Government would install a centre for emergency response near River Enziu.

“That’s what we can do for now, because the bridge can’t be repaired during this wet season,” he said.

Following the tragedy, a number of individuals have cast blame on who between the County Government of Kitui and the National Government,  should take responsibility for the loss of lives.

Kenyans.co.ke now understands that residents refer to Enziu as the River of Doom due to the number of lives that have been lost over the years.

In March 2018, five people lost their lives in the same River after they were swept away by flash floods after river banks unexpectedly broke due the heavy rains.

Two months later, a woman who was accompanied by her four friends for a burial in the area, also drowned in the River. The four were found buried 10 metres underneath the river bed after 22 days of relentless search.

The River is now considered the most dangerous in Kitui County.

In 2019 and 2020, residents say that a number of lives were lost during the rainy seasons.

“Do not cross the river when the water is above your knees, it could sweep you to your death." Mwingi East sub county police commander Joseph Yakan was quoted saying in 2019.

Following the incidents, Public Works Principal Secretary Paul Maringa stated the government would reconstruct the Enziu Bridge on the Nuu–Nguni route. The construction of the bridge has, however, stalled since 2014.

"There have been very many incidences. Every time when it is raining, there have to be casualties. The County says that the bridge is under the National Government but has stalled since 2014," a journalist currently in the area told Kenyans.co.ke.

Previously, Mwingi Central MP Gideon Mulyungi reiterated the importance of having the Enziu bridge, observing it affected residents immeasurably.

He insisted that the construction of the bridge was more important than the construction of the Nuu-Nguni road.

“Although River Enziu is a water source to locals, the river has also claimed lives of locals and the call for a bridge is paramount,” Mulyungi stated.

In his condolence message on Sunday, December 5, President Uhuru Kenyatta vowed to relay measures the Government was taking to prevent similar mishaps from re-occurring.

President Uhuru Kenyatta address the nation in Parliament in 2019
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