Africa-Press – Kenya. On the third day of December 2002, then-presidential hopeful, Mwai Kibaki – who was running on a National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) ticket – was involved in a grisly road accident that shook the nation.
The accident, near the Machakos junction along the Nairobi – Mombasa highway, happened at a time when the country was in the middle of a heated campaign period and preparing to vote out President Daniel Moi, who had ruled for 24 years.
When Kibaki’s vehicle lost control and landed in a ditch, rescue efforts were mounted and coordinated by former Kitui Senator, David Musila.
Kibaki, who was still conscious despite suffering serious injuries, asked the former Senator to call his son, David Kibaki, and his personal doctor, Dr Dan Gikonyo.
Dr Gikonyo, in a past interview, explained that Kibaki needed specialized treatment out of the country and they were under a lot of pressure from the media and the country to explain what had happened.
A decision was later reached to transfer Kibaki to Nairobi from London.
After the road clash, Raila Odinga, who was part of Kibaki’s campaign, reportedly did not trust the ambulance driver who came to the scene of the accident and decided to drive it personally.
Political analyst, Mutahi Ngunyi, on Wednesday, September 8, revealed that Raila drove the ambulance from Machakos to a Nairobi hospital.
“What Dr Gikonyo did not say in this interview was that Raila did not trust the ambulance driver that took Kibaki to hospital after the Machakos accident. Raila drove the ambulance himself. The fact of history,” Ngunyi stated.
Dr Gikonyo revealed how the trip to London was also frustrated by officials from a local airline who were operating under instructions from the government of the day.
The officials gave Kibaki a hard time after they denied him a seat in the first class. However, Dr Gikonyo noted that Raila intervened and paid for the seats.
Dr Gikonyo said that the airline did not help Kibaki, who was on a stretcher, and Raila went and found eight young men who helped to take Kibaki from the back of the plane to the first-class area he had paid for.
“The difficult bit was the flight to England. I remember asking for some seats and they were not cooperative. Remember we still had the old government and we were the new government challenging the old government,” Dr Gikonyo stated.
“They gave us three seats in the back of the plane and I remember Hon. Raila Odinga, who was with us, said no we can to put our president in the back of the plane, we must put him in first class,” he added.
“They demanded that if we were to go to first-class, we must pay and I remember all this was done by Raila Odinga and he said he will pay since we must get seats at the front of the plane.”
“The difficult bit now was how to get the stretcher onto the front of the plane because the aisle was not wide enough for a stretcher. I have a lot of respect for Raila, he came with eight men and they carried that stretcher while on their knees from the back of the plane to the front seat of the plane,” he concluded.