Jackie Nabuduwa, a P.4 pupil and her friend Zahra Namuganza, took their favourite positions in the taxi hired to drop them at school every morning—at the back—but they did not reach school. The two were among the five pupils of Victoria Nile Primary School in Jinja who died in a car accident that the police say was caused by drink driving.
The Jinja District traffic officer, Mr Quinto Angerya, said the driver of the Bubulo Girls School van, who was drunk, rammed his vehicle into a stationary omnibus carrying the Victoria Nile Primary School pupils at Mailo Mbili, a Jinja suburb.
The Bubulo students were on their way to Kampala to process visas for a study trip in Sweden. Mr Angerya says a breath analysis done shortly after the accident indicated that the driver had 0.55 micrograms of alcohol in his blood. The acceptable alcohol level is 0.35 micrograms. He was held to help in investigations.
Whereas Nabuduwa and Namuganza died on the spot, four-year-old Juma Mulutu, Emmanuel Lasu and Pauline Namafuta died at Jinja Hospital where they had been rushed in critical condition. Many students and teachers sustained injuries, among them the Bubulo head teacher, Ms Alice Nagimesi.
By lunch time yesterday, parents, teachers and sympathisers had thronged Jinja Hospital to offer support to the injured. Others wailed. Dr Dean Ahimbisibwe, a senior surgeon at the hospital, said some of the injuries were serious and victims rushed to the intensive care unit.
At least 2,700 people were killed in road accidents across the country last year, according to the police crime report released two weeks ago. But accidents like the one yesterday mean that a 10-year campaign launched worldwide to reduce the road carnage early this month can only go so far.