It’s high time Zifa is held liable


THEY say forgiveness is not necessarily for them but for you, so that you can live your life without the burden of anger and resentment.

By Enock Muchinjo

This is probably how the family of the late Egna Nyamadzawo took it following her senseless death in a stampede before Zimbabwe’s decisive Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Congo at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.

Blessed are those with a forgiving heart, they shall not live with bitterness for the rest of their lives.

But we are only human, and a lot of us mortals — had Egna been one of ours —would not have found it that easy to forgive, not so soon after her tragic and untimely death, when the pain is still all too raw.

For some of us that have seen it happen before our eyes at the National Sports Stadium, and then nearly seeing it happen again and again with authorities scandalously turning a blind eye, we definitely would not have allowed football officials—obviously shedding crocodile tears — anywhere near the funeral wake of a loved one for whose death they should be held liable due to reckless disregard for the safely of the fans.

It is deplorable and sickening that Egna should meet this kind of fate just five months after the nation breathed a huge sigh of relief that at least no life had been lost when Zifa — then under Phillip Chiyangwa — presided over another potential death trap last October against the DRC.

It is so disheartening in that it is becoming ever clearer that while we were consumed with seeing the back of Chiyangwa, we were paving the way for another incompetent administration at Zifa, another lot with no disaster management strategy — priority number one in the very early stage of planning and crucially on match day itself.

If the truth be told, three months into office, we have been led down the garden path in administrative competence by Felton Kamambo and the new team at Zifa.
What we simply have now is an extension of previous Zifa administrations and you will not be left with much doubt about this when journalists are cordoned off operational zones at an important international match — deliberately put out of contact with important guests — and federation officials sit cozily in the VIP enclosure, while scores of pushing fans squeeze the life out of each other on the turnstiles outside.

At this alarming rate — where fans are exposed to physical harm and death at stadiums due to human negligence — it becomes extremely justified that such cases be criminalised, and those in position at Zifa face the music for their spectacular incompetence.
I understand that there are parameters within which this should be done and, while still on that subject, I am a little bit shocked about the deafening silence to what happened at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday.

Is one life unnecessarily lost because of a national sports federation’s lax security measures not enough to make the nation demand heads to roll? Do we have to wait for a repeat of July 2000, for 13 more innocent souls to perish inside that obsolete structure well call a national stadium?

You would certainly expect some kind of national outrage over the horrible incident on Sunday.
As of official outrage, well, do not hold your breath.
For that, it will probably take the loss of a close relative of the powerful elite, not ordinary folk or an everyday fan like Egna Nyamadzawo.