An inquest into the cause of the stampede at Mbizo Stadium which left 11 dead and 43 injured after a Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries (PHD) all-night prayer meeting in November last year is set to open at the Kwekwe Magistrates’ Court next month.
by BLESSED MHLANGA
PHD Ministries leader Walter Magaya (31), members of the police and Kwekwe City council officials, among others, are expected to appear before Kwekwe resident magistrate Taurai Manwere to give their version of events on the fateful night on November 28.
The three groups have been blaming each other for causing the stampede after about 30 000 congregants gathered in the 10 000-seater stadium tried to force their way out through four small gates.
Magaya, in his affidavit, puts the blame on council which he accused of refusing to remove precast wall panels to the stadium ahead of the prayer meeting which attracted people from as far as Gokwe.
He said PHD had donated close to $15 000 to council so that they could repair toilets at the stadium and had also requested city fathers to remove the precast walls because they expected more people than could be handled by the stadium.
Magaya, who is one of the witnesses who will appear in court on July 15, says if council had listened, the disaster could have been avoided.
Police Inspector Philip Nyateka, who was in charge on the night, will also appear in court together with other police officers as they fight allegations that their poor crowd control was to blame.
Police were accused of having used teargas to control the crowd, but ended up causing commotion and the eventual stampede.
They, however, denied using tear smoke and instead allege a vendor’s gas stove blew up during the commotion causing panic among congregants.
The vendor will also give his side of the story as families of the 11 who died that night and the nation seek answers to the tragedy.
In a notice setting down the matter, the National Prosecuting Authority, represented by Salome Maunganidze, summoned Magaya, council housing director Newton Dete and Nyateka, among others, to present themselves for the inquest.
“Take notice that the inquest of Tamuka Chivasa (11) and 10 others will be opened at the Kwekwe Magistrates’ Court on July 15,” part of the notice read.
Church members will also have a chance to share their version of events which continues to haunt the Kwekwe community.
Those who died during the stampede are Chivasa, Ian Nkomo (40), Tendekai Bafana (9), Juliet Mawere (age unknown), Rachel Zivanei (16), Shadreck Kurebwa (59), Bridget Mukarati (24), Albert Ndure (13), Cynthia Katsholo (47), Grace Gwinji (age unknown) and Winmore Chikanda (12).