As the public protector, the Office of the Ombudsman, has said it will open an investigation into a Bingu National Stadium stapempede during the 53rd Independence Anniversary on 6 July 2017 where eight people – including seven children.
Dozens more were injured in the crush as thousands of people rushed for seats ahead of a friendly between top sides Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers which was being held as part of events to mark the 53rd anniversary of Malawi’s independence from British colonial rule.
Despite the deaths, the match did go ahead in a packed stadium, although President Peter Mutharika did not attend as planned.
The Ombudsman will probe the tragedy following request by the Society of Medical Doctors (SMD) in a letter dated July 7 2017, Ref: SMD/069/17 signed by its president Douglous Lungu.
The SMD asked Ombudsman Chizuma Mwangonde to investigate what transpired for the tragedy to occur, including the planning of the event, circumstances that led to the stampede and immediate response to the tragedy of the first responders.
The society said its members were “instrumental” in the first and subsequent emergency response.
“They worked with dedication in trying to save lives of those who were injured. But they were left with the deep sense that this could have been avoided,” reads the letter of SMD in part.
The Society said the site of helpless children suffering and dying is “unbearable to all people of conscious.”
It adds that it is a situation in which they do not want to find themselves again if they can help it.
The Ombudsman has said the requested has passed the threshold of the office as there was an injustice that occurred and would be carried out for a maximum period of three months.