Couple recalls emotional prayer before accident claimed relatives

From left: Jesse Manyara, Joseph Ng’ang’a and his wife Diana Ng’ang’a at their home in Pipeline Nakuru County on April 3, 2024. 


Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Road crash happened on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway on Monday night.
  • Family members now seek solace in the memories of the departed loved ones.

What was to be an Easter celebration for the Ng’ang’as ended in tragedy.

The family is now grappling with the sudden loss of six members in a road accident in Salama on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway on Monday night.

Mr Joseph Ng’ang’a, still reeling from the shock, recalled the moment his elder brother, Rev Francis Mwangi, prayed before the start of their journey back home.

Little did the family know it would be the final farewell.

The extended family embarked on a journey from Nakuru to Mombasa on Thursday for the Easter weekend.

They arrived the following morning.

According to Mr Ng’ang’a, the family spent Easter catching up.

He added that the weekend was one of a kind, with family members laughing and making merry as they recalled their childhood.

They had an annual family meeting on Saturday whose planning began way back in December last year.

The family members – young and old – went to the beach the following day, enjoying the sun, the breeze, salty water, sand and food. 

According to Mr Ng’ang’a, his brother’s prayer just before the family’s departure was unusually emotional. 

“I had never seen him shed tears until that day as he prayed. I am still surprised,” Mr Ng’ang’a told the Daily Nation at his home in Pipeline estate, Nakuru City, on Wednesday.

He added that before beginning the journey back to Nakuru with his wife and six children using private means, he sought transport for the other relatives who were to return home by public means.

The initial agreement was that some were to wait for a bus that usually leaves Mombasa from Nakuru at 5pm. 

Francis Mwangi.

Photo credit: Courtesy

It was, however, agreed that instead of waiting that long, they board a matatu and travel together as a group.

Tragically, the vehicle was involved in a collision with several others in Salama, Makueni County, around 8:30pm.  

Esther Nyambura.

Photo credit: Courtesy

The accident claimed the lives of six family members, with several others injured, some critically.

Those who died in the crash were Rev Mwangi, 61, Mr Ng’ang’a’s sister-in-law Irene Wangombe, 37, Mrs Wang’ombe’s daughter Joyce wairimu and son Lemy Macharia, 12. 

Lemmy Macharia.

Photo credit: Courtesy

“I received a call near St Mary’s Hospital, Gilgil. I had to ensure the family members in the car I was driving arrived home safely. I then began another journey to Makindu,” Mr Ng’ang’a said. 

“Seeing the bodies was painful. The injured had already been taken to hospital. I appeal to Kenyans to help us give them a proper sendoff.”

Mr Nga’ng’a’s nieces – Esther Nyambura,12, and Esther Wanjiru Macharia, a grade four pupil – also died in the crash. 

Joyce Wairimu, 2, who perished in the Salama accident.

Photo credit: Courtesy

His two brothers – Shadrack Mbao,40, and Samwel Macharia 35, who are prison warders – survived and have been transferred to Eldoret for specialised treatment.

Other survivors were Mr Ng’ang’a’s nephews Samwel Macharia ,24, James Karanja and seven-year-old niece Joyce Muthoni.

Muthoni is in ICU while Mr Macharia is at a hospital in Nairobi. The other survivors – Daniel Waciuri,45, and Mr Karanja – are at a Nakuru hospital. 

Esther Wanjiru.

Photo credit: Courtesy

Mr Ng’ang’as wife, Diana, said the family usually meets during Easter and December holidays.

She said Mombasa was chosen as the venue for the next family gathering during a meeting in December last year.  

Irene Wang'ombe, 37, who perished in the Salama road crash on Monday.

Photo credit: Courtesy

Mrs Ng’ang’a said they travelled in a group of 18 from Nakuru using public and private means.

They met the rest of the relatives from other counties in Mombasa. 

“We have never had such a good time as a family. The host was great. We laughed, we took photos and videos,” she said. 

Despite the tragedy, Mrs Ng’ang’a said the remaining family members find solace in the precious memories created with their loved ones.

“When we were on the beach, I requested Nyambura to watch one of my grandchildren and she agreed,” she said. 

“True to her word, they were together all the time. As we mourn the huge family loss and pray for the quick recovery of those injured, we still hold onto the belief that love endures, transcending even the darkest of times.”

The six bodies have been moved to Umash Funeral Home in Nakuru City.