The independence celebration in Malawi turned into tragedy as eight people – including seven children – have died in a stampede at the Bingu national stadium ahead of a football match to celebrate the country’s 53rd independence anniversary.
According to the police report, dozens more were injured, and more deaths are expected, following the tragedy. The ugly incident took place at Lilongwe’s Bingu national stadium, following a scheduled friendly match between Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers football clubs.
It is reported that thousands of spectators struggled to find a seat at the stadium after the authorities opened the gate of the stadium three hours behind the schedule. Apart from the delays in opening the gate, thousands of spectators turned up at the 40,000-capacity stadium to watch the match. Some of the fans reportedly forced themselves into the stadium.
President Peter Mutharika has offered his condolences to the families of the deceased and vowed to do all within his power to assist the affected families.
Sadly, the latest stadium tragedy is not the first – nor will it be the last – in Africa. The question one may ask is: Why is this kind of unnecessary tragedy peculiar to Africa, not to the Western world? Is it due to impatience, lack of proper organisation, disregard for rules and regulation……?
Until we know the exact cause of the senseless and preventable tragedy, we will continue to lose innocent productive lives in Africa. We need to wake up from our slumber.