Police yesterday named the 11 people who died during a stampede at a crusade which was held by Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries leader Prophet Walter Magaya at Mbizo Stadium in Kwekwe last week. The victims are Ian Nkomo (40), Cynthia Jane Katsholo (47), Tendekai Bafana (9), Winnie Chikanda (12), Tamuka Chivasa (11), Juliet Mawere (55), Rachel Zvinei (16), all of Kwekwe, Albert Ndure (13) and Bridget Mukarati (34) both of Gweru, Grace Gwinji (age not given) and Shadreck Gumisidzo Kurebwa (59) both of Redcliff.
Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said the stampede was as a result of a gas bottle that leaked and burst as the crowd was about to leave the stadium.
“The ZRP would like to set the record straight on what transpired at Mbizo Stadium, Kwekwe on 20th November 2014. Amos Muzeiwa (43) was using gas bottles to cook fast foods such as sausages to sell to the public in the stadium,” she said.
“The gas bottles leaked and burst as the crowd was about to leave the stadium.
“This contributed to the stampede which unfortunately led to the loss of life.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said police had since established that one main gate (normally used by vehicles) and a small gate were opened by Kwekwe City Council officials who handed over the keys to PHD ushers.
She said the other two gates were locked and the keys were kept by the council officials.
“Police details who were hired by PHD ministries had to assist the crowd to leave the stadium by opening one side of the main gate which had been closed by the church ushers,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.
“We would also like to point out that the PHD event was a private function and police are not obliged to provide security on such activities. All police details who were on duty on that day had no tear smoke or button sticks as had been previously alleged.”
Snr Asst Comm Charamba said in future when churches and other organisations plan to host such gatherings they should consider utilising and hiring open spaces which are not confined.
She said the open areas do not hinder the free movement of people, especially at night.
On Friday, Prophet Magaya shouldered blame for the death of the 11 people in a stampede which also left 54 others injured at his crusade.
He said it was clear that the church’s system failed, resulting in the deaths.
The incident occurred soon after the service at around 10pm and there was a huge gathering estimated at around 30 000 people in the stadium.