Mutharika appoints task force to probe 6 July stadium stampede

President Peter Mutharika has bowed to pressure and finally appointed a task force to look into the cause of an accident on Thursday at Bingu National Stadium which left eight people dead and 68 injured.

Kalilani: Task force given two weeks deadline

The president’s spokesperson Mgeme Kalilani confirmed the appointing of the task force, saying it has been given a two week mandate to investigate the cause of the disaster and make recommendations for prevention of such an accident in future.

But Malawi Law Society is expressing reservations on the effectiveness and authority on the task force in as far as undertaking the exercise is concerned.

The Law Society argues that a commission of inquiry would have been more ideal considering its magnitude.

A preliminary police report and Bingu National Stadium officials say the cause of the stampede was failure by authorities to open the stadium at six in the morning and opted to open at 10 am for undisclosed reasons.

“This is a stand alone committee which will have well researched facts on measures we should take to avoid such disasters in future,” said Kalilani.

According to a statement released by Kalilani, the task force will be chaired by Principal Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet (Administration) Mr. Zangazanga Chikhosi.

Other members include Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs Mr. Sam Madula, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Man Power Development Mr. Joseph Mwandidya, a representative from the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and Senior Assistant Chief State Advocate from the Ministry of Justice Dr. Steven Kayuni who will be the Secretary for the task force.

“The task force shall udertake the work within two weeks and report on its findings together with recommendations and measures to be taken to avoid similar occurences in the future” reads the statement in part.

Mutharika’s decision to appoint a task force comes amid accusations and calls from several quarters asking him to set up a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to find out the grey areas that led to the stampede.

Stadium Manager Eric Ning’ang’a took full responsibility of whatever happened because they are the supervisors of the facility.

But Ning’ang’a pushed the blame to the organising committee of the function claiming the committee turned down his request to allow the open the stadium gates at around 6am.

Leader of Opposition in parliament Lazarus Chakwera and other sections of the society have been pressing Mutharika to appoint a commission of inquiry to probe the death of the seven children and one adult who was trumped upon when he went into the stampede to rescue his child.

Two of the dead children were from the same family.

The government was faulted for going head with a football match just a few hours after the crashing to death of the people at the same stadium.

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