The death of eight university students in road accident near Kisii town on Friday night was the kind of tragedy whose impact numbs the senses. While death stalks everyone and anyone and can possibly strike anywhere, any time, such a horror blow nudges the conscience of the nation to ask some hard questions even as relatives and friends mourn the departed.
Most accidents, admittedly, are avoidable, particularly where human error and vehicle condition appear to be leading factors precipitating the tragedies. With claims that some of the students involved in the car crash were said to be drunk, police should also investigate whether the drivers of the ill-fated vehicles were under the influence of substances.
Drink-driving and all its attendant risks has stalked our roads for long. If, in the case of the ill-fated students, alcohol played a part, then answers are needed to how the vehicles, carrying passengers said to have conspicuously been dressed in all white, passed all the police roadblocks from Nairobi to Kisii.
Did any officer notice they were not sober? Beyond police inability to spot a carload of youth, most said to have been imbibing alcoholic beverages, society must be saddled with other more fundamental questions that beg urgent answers.
Why would individuals attending the citadels of learning be so removed from logical thinking as to engage in sheer dangerous behaviour? Why would they imperil their lives by engaging in such hair-raising deeds? One would expect that at some level, they should tap from their education and scholarship to change the course of their lives, and use logic and intellect to change behaviour and improve lives.
Of course, university education has become a mixed bag of fortunes where questionable behaviour has taken root, threatening all the good that educationists have built over the decades. Two of the girls who died in the accident were sisters.
What sort of agony, unfulfilled, shattered dreams have the parents been left to shoulder? Another student was an only son to a high school teacher. One can only begin to fathom the pain visited on the students’ kin, some of whom may have been banking on them to deliver their families from the shackles of poverty.
The accident should be a wake-up call to youth who should start taking charge of their lives. That means more maturity and intelligent reasoning. It must be a turning point for many who live their young lives with abandon. Mediamax condoles with the families.