Bloody Malawi independence celebrations: Mutharika condemns poor crowd control

As the prayers marking 53 years of independence celebrations were getting to its climax at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe, the mood was suddenly dampened with news that eight people had died while making their way into Bingu National Stadium (BNS).

Malawi independence feast end in tears: Mutharika visits sampede victims at hospital and assures government support

A nurse attends to an injured child in high care unit at the Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi, Thursday, July 6, 2017

The sad news started filtering in as mere rumours mainly through the social media, later developed into a true but painful story, and when Chairperson for the officiating clergy during the prayers, Dr Timothy Nyasulu, came on the podium to make the announcement, the BNS auditorium which was packed to the brim went into total silence.

“Am sorry to interrupt the flow of our programme here, I have some very unfortunate news which has just reached us. We have received a report that 42 of our brothers and sisters who were entering the stadium at BNS in area 49 have been injured and eight have died,” said Dr Nyasulu.

It was at this point that people started believing the images that had come through on many people’s phones depicting people, mainly children lying unconscious as security personnel and other civilians tried to offer help of different types.

The BNS was the venue for a football match between Silver Strikers and Big Bullets as an extension to the independence anniversary celebrations and President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika was to be guest of honour.

With the turnout of events, immediately after the prayers at BICC, President Professor Mutharika was forced to rush to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) to visit the victims of the tragedy where he described the development 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.

At KCH, the President who visited the casualty ward, High Dependence Unit and the Mortuary further said this should be the last time for a thing of similar nature to happen.

“Going forward, I think relevant authorities should make sure that this does not happen again. Those are modern structures whose designs are very much accommodating. We should make sure all proper and safety procedures are followed when people are entering the stadium,” he said.

According to one clinician at KCH, the hospital has received a total of 65 cases plus the 8 who have died. At the time of the visit some were in the ICU while others were treated as outpatients. From the eight who have died, there is one adult male, one girl while the rest are boys.

As a result of the incident at BNS, the President changed his earlier plans of being present at the stadium and he instead delegated minister responsible for Sports Henry Mussa to be there on his behalf.

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Jj
Guest

I cry for these kids! I cry I cry. May the good Lord let their souls rest in eternity and allow them enjoy the other life. Amen

Milcafu Elesan
Guest

no gd for such a thing to happen on such a day. May the grace of our God confort the affected families and Mother Malawi.

j kawawa
Guest

I think in all circumstances, issues of this nature are supposed to be investigated, enquiries be commissioned and perhaps demotions and prosecutions to follow on those policemen, but as i know this will never happen and we will be told to pray to God, as if God was responsible for the safety of the victims. Such way of dealing things gives me the courage to say that this will not be the last time we lose enocent lives in such a manner.

Che nsomba
Guest
The President should be commended for his gesture to go to the hospital. He did what every father would do in these circumstances. I am not a DPP functionary nor a supporter but we need to respect the timely and honourable position the Commander in Chief took here. Let us not just blame the President every time. You will recall that his brother never bothered to do so when 20 or so innocent lives were gunned down by these same cops in Mzuzu. Instead he called them “thieves”. In my view this President is human and needs to be commended.
Chipapwiche Bwanamdoko
Guest
Chipapwiche Bwanamdoko
Apart from training, let the police acquire necessary equipment for crowd control. training alone cannot solve things, its like training a surgion without without proper surgical equipment in the theartre. Provide them with water canons that are less harmful and some helicopters which am told they had in early 90s. They should not be trained by the western or americans lets train them using african expetise because we share the same experiences, terrain infrastructure, human behaviour, equipment and many more. Unlike the west where people behave completely different. But all the same its a very bad experience. But for some… Read more »
Chipapwiche Bwanamdoko
Guest
Chipapwiche Bwanamdoko

Apart from training, let the police acquire necessary equipment for crowd control. training alone cannot solve things, its like training a surgion without without proper surgical equipment in the theartre. Provide them with water canons that are less harmful and some helicopters which am told they had in early 90s. They should not be trained by the western or americans lets train them using african expetise because we share the same experiences, terrain infrastructure, human behaviour, equipment and many more. Unlike the west where people behave completely different. But all the same its a very bad experience.

Euphemia Bota
Guest

BNS is in Area 48 not 49

Kholowa mkabudula
Guest
It is sad but they leaped the fruits of a failling gvmnt. Pipo should know the consequences of these kind of gatherings by now. We are in a new failling era, if you have nothing to do its simple just go to bed where ever you are then you will be spared. Yes let us accuse the police for being puppets for the gvmnt egos, but going to such places is owns choices, so why branding them stupidity when its your choice? So far as l am concrrned anything they can do is stupit in the end. Get well soon… Read more »
John Bicycle
Guest
Izi ndiye zochititsa manyazi 52 years sizinachitikepo apa zaonetseratu kuti olamulira made a wrong decision of not opening the gates on time as has been the case all these other years anthu amakagona ku stadium ngati panali malo anthu ena adakawasiyira apa mdziko mwachitika ngati tonse sitiganiza chifukwa ngozi sinayenera kuchitika someone has to answer as to why the gates were not opened up to that late hour. This is serious issue those in authority take action NO ONE SHOULD BE ABOVE THE LAW AMENE ADALAMULA KUTI MAGETI ASATSEKULIDWE MSANGA AMENEYO WAPHETSA ANA NDI MUNTHU WAMKULU NDI KUVULALITSA ENA OSALAKWA… Read more »
Donatta
Guest

Its sad to loose a child like this please Mr. President do something on our these so called policemen. Are they trained to kill or protect.

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