Sponsors of the Mo 626 college basketball tournament National Bank of Malawi are devastated with the death of four college students who were part of the K30 million kwacha tournament.
The students were killed in a fatal road accident in Dedza on Sunday as they were travelling from the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Thyolo, for the quarterfinals of the competition.
The four are Moses Mzumara from the Polytechnic, Agnes Kanyemba, Winnie Mwale and Oswald Chimangeni, all from Mzuzu University ( Mzuni).
They were in the company of Mzuni and Mzuzu Technical College teams on their way back to their base when a Toyota coaster registration number BS 8599 they were travelling in plunged into Nazipulu river in Mtakataka, on the Salima – Balaka M5 road.
Speaking in an interview with Malawi24, National Bank’s Head of Strategy, Marketing and Corporate Affairs Wilkins Mijiga, said they are devastated with the tragedy.
“As a company, we are devastated with the loss of these brilliant, talented and gifted students. I personally met the kids on Saturday during the tournament at MUST,” said Mijiga.
He added: “When darkness fell we moved to the Blantyre Youth Centre. After the games, we in conjunction with the Basketball Association of Malawi (BASMAL) agreed that they should not be allowed to travel at night.
We therefore arranged for their accommodation at the Polytechnic, so it was very shocking to hear of their death on Sunday. I drove to the scene and couldn’t believe my sight. Its heartbreaking not only for us and BASMAL but the entire nation to lose such promising citizens ”
A prayer service for the deceased was held on Monday afternoon at the Mzuni campus before the bodies were repatriated to Karonga, Rumphi and Dowa respectively.
Besides claiming the 4 lives, the accident left 14 other passengers with serious injuries while 21 sustained minor injuries.
Seven students have been admitted at Kamuzu Central Hospital, 4 at Dedza Hospital and 1 at Mua Mission Hospital.
Meanwhile BASMAL has suspended all basketball activities in the country until burial of the four has taken place.
According to a statement, signed by its general secretary Edgar Ng’ong’ola, BASMAL will instruct on when basketball activities will resume in all the three zones, upon which a one minute silence in respect of the departed shall be observed at the beginning of each game.
On Sunday State President Arthur Peter Mutharika offered his condolences and instructed that Government should render its support to the families of the deceased and those injured in the best way possible.