Government has organised a memorial service for eight people who died during a stampede at Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe during last year’s July 6 Independence Anniversary Celebrations.
The stampede happened as people scrambled to enter the stadium where, among other activities, was a football match between Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers.
A report by the Commission of Inquiry faulted the delay to open the gates as the cause because it led to people cramming the entrances.
BNS manager Eric Ning’ang’a said the ceremony will be held on July 5, to avoid overshadowing the main activities set for Mzuzu Stadium.
“The prayers are meant to comfort the families that lost their loved ones and also for those that suffered injuries some of whom have not fully recovered. Families that were affected will also be invited to lay wreaths and be part of the prayers,” he said.
“We want to give the memorial service our best attention. That is why we chose to have it on the eve of Independence Day. We believe that the whole country will be with the families of the victims in prayers on this day,” he said.
Human rights activist Billy Mayaya has welcomed the plans to hold the memorial, saying the tragedy was a national disaster.
However, he said the anniversary commemorations should serve as a reminder that all stadiums need to be safe for supporters.
“We must do our best to raise safety measures awareness among the supporters in addition to making sure that the stadiums are safe. We must try as much as possible to guard against such disasters,” he said. n