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Ex-Kotoko chief Herbert Mensah leads thousands to walk for victims of May 9 disaster

Published on: 09 May 2019
Ex-Kotoko chief Herbert Mensah leads thousands to walk for victims of May 9 disaster
Herbert Mensah

The May 9 Foundation has marked 18 years of the stadium disaster with Ramadan prayers and donations at the Kumasi Central Mosque. 

Herbert Mensah, former chairman of Asante Kotoko and founder of the May 9 Remembered Annual Charity Events joined Moslems and chiefs to pray for the souls of the over 126 football fans who died during the stadium stampede on May 9 2001.

He was chairman of Kotoko in 2001 when the disaster occurred and he personally participated in conveying and transporting some of the dead bodies and injured soccer fans to the hospital on the sad day.

This year's memorial and donation event coincided with the start of the Ramadan fasting season for Muslims all over the world.

Mensah was joined at the Kumasi Central Mosque by the Ghana Association for the Physically Disabled and their patron Aunty Mavis, a British-Ghanaian woman whose charity work in Ghana spans over 64 years.

''We are not only here to support families of the victims of the stadium disaster. Last year we helped children who are dying through other means. This year, we are here with Auntie Mavis, an English- Ghanaian woman who has been working for 64 years to help a group of disabled people in Ghana. She spends most of her time helping the blind, the physically disabled and other poor people. We have come here with her as recognition of her contribution to the lives of poor people in Ghana," he said.

The donations to the Mosque included food items from sponsors like Gino, household consumable products from Sunda International and an undisclosed amount of cash and T-shirts from Interplast.

Mensah praised the Islamic and traditional leaders of Kumasi for showing respect to those who perished at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in 2001.

“Again after 18 years, we come to the house of Allah. We come here with humility. 18 years we have been coming to the Mosque in Kumasi. We get guidance and a sense of direction when we come here.

"We come here because the Muslim leaders here, the Imams, and the Otumfuo are the only people who give respect to those who lost their lives in the May 9 stadium disaster," Mensah said.

The Ohene Djan Sports Stadium (then the Accra Sports Stadium) disaster occurred amidst poor officiating and the application of wrong crowd control methods by the police during a game between rival soccer clubs Hearts of Oak and Asante Kotoko.

The Ashanti regional chief Imam,  Abdul Mumin, led prayers for the souls of the departed football fans.

For the 18 years since the disaster, no police or football officials have paid the price for their role in the historic national tragedy.

The Foundation also embarked on a walk in Kumasi to drum home the need for safety in the stadia.

Thousands including students from the Katanga Hall of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) took part. Herbert Mensah told the media that he owes a sacred duty to remember those who died on the day.

The Foundation led by Mr Mensah was later in the day hosted by the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II who encourage them to do more to help families affected by the disaster.

Herbert Mensah and Otumfuo Osei Tutu
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