Malawi government have redeployed Bingu National Stadium Manager Eric Ning’ang’a to Karonga district, barely few days after eight people died and dozens others were injured in a stampede at the magnificent facility.
A senior official at the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development disclosed that Kamuzu Stadium Manager Charles Mhango will replace Ning’ang’a.
The stampede occurred when hundreds of people were jostling to enter the stadium to watch a football match between Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers.
The game, won 2-0 by Bullets, was part of the 53rd Independence Anniversary Celebrations.
Dozens more were injured in the stampede at the 40,000 capacity stadium, which was supposed to open at 06:30 hours to allow free entry of people, but there was a delay of about three hours.
Hundreds of people had already showed up and some forced their way in. The incident happened on Thursday, July 6.
And on Friday, Ning’anga told Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) that the Organizing Committee for the Independence Celebration ignored his advice that the facility be opened much earlier.
President Arthur Peter Mutharika, who took trouble to console the bereaved families and cheered those hospitalized at Kamuzu Central Hospital hours after the development, described the incident as very shocking and unfortunate.
“The innocent souls we have lost today wanted to be part of our independence celebrations. I am so saddened that they have lost their lives on a day like today and some have been hospitalized here like we have just seen. I promise the bereaved families and other victims of government’s support in this time of need,” said the President.
Meanwhile, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) President Lazarus Chakwera has called on government to engage independent investigators over the matter, arguing that “government cannot investigate itself”.
“Its commendable that Government has started doing investigations on the matter however its important on that Government should set up an independent body to do proper investigations on the matter because Government cannot investigate itself,” said Chakwera.
Government provided all the necessary support to the bereaved families and those receiving treatment at the hospital.
And Malawi Health and Equity Network (MHEN) executive director George Jobe has said government needs to wake up to the need to provide special emergency funding that could enable the Health Ministry to have adequate ambulances and first-aid health facilities at public events.
Jobe said government should, from now onwards, involve hospital authorities on the onset in the planning for major public events, not only at stadiums but also at large closed-door venues like the Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe.
“Such planning should ensure that several stand-by ambulances and tents for first aid treatment are nearby. If the hospital officials are involved right at the beginning of the planning, many lives can be saved in that way,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :