The Takaungu Shaurimoyo stretch on the Mombasa-Malindi highway is a known black spot that has claimed several lives in road carnage.
Though the stretch is characterized by potholes, it is generally a straight stretch without a single dead corner or dangerous ascend. Any driver with a good eye sight can see Takaungu while at Shaurimoyo.
The question now arises, why do so many accidents occur at this stretch? Unverified accounts from several drivers has it that there is a cow that is seen crossing and when the driver attempts to avoid hitting the cow, a serious accident occurs. The ‘cow’ is only seen by the driver.
This ‘cow’ which is believed to be a vampire or a demon crosses from the east side and it is believed to be the cause of many accidents in this area.
On Sunday, 22 passengers sustained serious injuries after two matatus collided head on at this black spot. Two of them later succumbed to injuries at the Coast referral hospital in Mombasa where they had been taken on referral from Kilifi county hospital.
Imaginary or real?
When you here a driver narrating about this ‘cow’, you always wonder why it’s only him who saw it.
Whether imaginary or real, the stretch is a death trap and something needs to be done.
Before this area, the Mnarani Komaza stretch was another death trap but in recent times not many accidents have been recorded at this area.
Another part of the Mombasa-Malindi highway with a seemingly similar story is the Mferejini-Vipingo stretch.
Drivers have claimed to either see a beautiful girl flagging down the vehicle or a cow crossing.
Those who live to tell say if you press on the brakes to avoid hitting the vampire, the vehicle will overturn and cause a serious crash.
“We see these demons most of the times especially early in the morning or late in the evening. There was a time I saw two girls dancing naked between Shariani and Vipingo just before the Vipingo Ridge junction. I decided not to swerve or press the brakes. To my surprise I did not hit anyone. These are demons out to drink our blood. We need to pray every day before setting on our journey,” said a matatu driver who sort anonymity.
The Chumani-Mwembeni stretch is another death trap. The sharp bend just before Kararacha mpenda kula is a notorious spot with accidents.
Another area is the mida stretch from Maziwa-msikitini to Kitsapu in Gede.
The last accident two weeks ago claimed seven lives after a truck rammed onto a matatu. The truck allegedly had a tyre burst and the driver lost control of the vehicle and rammed on the matatu.
Demons aside, the highway is narrow and most drivers do not follow traffic rules. Most of the black spots are not marked or lack warning signs. Stalled trucks that are left on the road without the reflective life savers placed on the recommended areas is a common phenomenon on this highway.
Unruly Matatu drivers fueled by bribe taking traffic police officers add to the already risky driving on this road.
Matatus part with between Ksh 100 to Ksh 200 in every police road block. This forces them to flout traffic rules including carrying excess passengers just to compensate the money they used to bribe police officers.
Most traffic police officers have no business checking the road worthiness of a vehicle but how much they can collect from the drivers.
Claims of drivers seeing a vampire before a crash on Kenyan roads are not new. Drivers plying the Nakuru-Eldoret highway have also claimed to see a vampire at the notorious salgaa black spot that has claimed many lives.