Bingu National Stadium (BNS) operations manager Eric Nin’gan’ga has said he takes responsibility for the tragedy that killed eight people and injured several others during a stampede on July 6.
The incident happened ahead of a friendly football match between Silver Strikers and Nyasa Big Bullets to climax the 53rd Independence Anniversary Celebrations last Thursday.
Said Nin’gan’ga on Thursday: “I am very touched and saddened with what happened.
“We should not blame the police, they are not in the wrong. I am responsible for this place and I, therefore, take the blame.”
However, Ning’ang’a attributed the tragedy to late opening of the gates.
“I was not part of the organising committee, but I made a suggestion that the gates should open at 6am and not 10am as it had been arranged, but the organisers stuck to the scheduled time.
“We opened the gates late, I made that recommendation, but their programme still indicated 10am. But [nevertheless], I will not point fingers at anyone,” he said.
Ironically, Malawi Police Service (MPS) has also attributed the cause of the stampede to delay in opening the gates.
“The Inspector General Mr. Lexten Kachama has instituted a commission to conduct a full internal inquiry and it is in full swing already.
“However, preliminary findings by the police have shown that delayed opening of the gates was the main contributing factor to the stampede at the stadium,” said MPS public relations officer James Kadadzera on Friday evening.
On his part, President Peter Mutharika condemned poor crowd control tactics, saying good crowd control strategies could have averted the tragedy.
He has since pledged government support both to the bereaved families and also those injured in meeting expenses.
In February about 17 people died and several others injured in an Angolan stadium when a stampede occurred during a local football match.