Police to issue report on stampede

Tuesday March 23 2021
reside piccc

Security personnel struggle to control a crowd as it surges forward after gates at Uhuru Stadium were closed to prevent people from entering the venue, which was filled to capacity on the second and final day of the body of former president John Magufuli lying in state at the stadium. PHOTOS | SAID KHAMIS

By Alfred Zacharia

Dar es Salaam. Authorities here said yesterday that they will issue a detailed statement on what transpired at the Uhuru Stadium on Sunday when city residents paid their last respects to the body of former President John Magufuli. The Dar es Salaam Special Zone Commander Lazaro Mambosasa promised to provide the report.

“We will provide detailed information on what transpired at the Uhuru Stadium tomorrow (today),” Mr Mambosasa said, urging residents to report to any police stations any information regarding their missing colleagues. This comes against the backdrop of reports showing that tens of people may have lost their lives as they defied security advice and made their way through the stadium via unofficial entrance points to pay their last respects to the body of the fallen leader. It also comes at a time when a family in Dar es Salaam is mourning the demise of its five members who were killed in a chaos that erupted when Dar es Salaam residents paid their last respects to the Dr Magufuli.

Sunday was a hectic day for first aid providers and security personnel when thousands of people thronged Uhuru Stadium in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam to pay their last respects to the body of Dr Magufuli.

Several people collapsed, with reports showing that several others died in the chaos that erupted as some mourners defied security advice and forced their way into the stadium to pay their last respects. It was in this process that the Mtuwa family of Kimara Mwisho in Dar es Salaam ended up registering its biggest loss when five of its members got killed in the process. The five are Chris (11), Michael (8), Nathan (6), Natalia (5) and Suzan Ndana Mtua (30s). Mtuwa’s eldest son, Gerald Mtuwa, said Suzan was his sister-in-law who left behind one child and a husband, Mr Denis Mtuwa.

“Suzan and my younger brother Denis have three kids, but two of them (Nathan and Natalia) died during yesterday’s chaos,” he told The Citizen at the family’s home in Dar es Salaam. Apart from the father, the family is now survived with only a two-year child.

The other two who died in the chaos (Michael and Chris) are the children of Gerald Mtuwa’s young brothers who stay together in the same compound. “Our father (Mtuwa) bought a large piece of land where we have built our houses and live in the same compound as a family,” he said. He said the housemaid who accompanied the five to the Uhuru Stadium had gone missing since yesterday.

Advertisement

“We have not seen her since yesterday despite searching her throughout Temeke Hospital so we are not sure whether she died or she fled to an unknown location,” he said. Ms Suzan, the housemaid and the four children left their home in a family vehicle for Uhuru Stadium at 5:45am so they could pay their last respects to the body of the departed leader. Michael’s mother, Huruma Mpiluko, said the night before the tragic day, her daughter with other kids in the family compound persistently asked to go to Uhuru Stadium to bid farewell to Dr Magufuli. Suzan decided to take them there. “They arrived at Uhuru Stadium early in the morning and they sent us pictures which they had taken from the stadium.

At around noon, my brother-in-law (Suzan’s husband) called Suzan; but she didn’t answer the phone,” she said.


According to him, his brother kept calling when later, someone picked the phone and informed him that the owner [of the phone] had fainted.

He directed the family to go to go to the office of the Temeke District Commissioner (DC) to collect Suzan’s belongings.

Henry Mtuwa, a family member, said they arrived at the Temeke DC’s office where they were told to go to Temeke Referral Hospital to see Suzan.

“We went to the hospital and searched all patients’ wards but we couldn’t find Suzan and the five children. Later, the doctors told us to go and look for them in the mortuary where we found the dead bodies of the five,” he said.

Funeral arrangements were being held at the family home at Kimara Mwisho.

The Muhimbili National Hospital (MNH) confirmed yesterday to have receive seven injured people and one dead person on March 21, 2021 following the Uhuru Stadium incident.

The head of communications at MNH Aminiel Eligaisha said in a press statement that the hospital received the body of Rose Shabakaki (53) while the injured were Aza Hamisi (26), Andrew Mirambo (26), Hawa Adam and a man whose name was not recognized who were sent to Muhimbili Orthopedic Institute (MOI) for more treatments.

The list also includes: a 13-old boy whose name could not be immediately established and two more in the names of Josseh Sunne (30) and Beatrice Mdake (44) who have already discharged.