President William Ruto has expressed his deepest condolences to the families of four people who tragically lost their lives during a stampede at the Kericho Green Stadium on Friday. The incident occurred as eager crowds gathered at Gate C of the stadium in anticipation of the 60th Mashujaa Day celebrations.
“My heart goes out to the families of the victims of the tragedy at the Kericho Green Stadium ahead of the Mashujaa Day celebrations. We extend our deepest condolences and pray for the quick recovery of the injured. Poleni sana,” stated President Ruto in a heartfelt message.
According to a police report, panic ensued when a lady selling tea accidentally spilled it into the fire, which was mistaken for teargas by the crowd. This misunderstanding led to a chaotic rush as attendees attempted to escape, resulting in the stampede.
Several individuals were injured in the incident and promptly rushed to Kericho County Referral Hospital by county government ambulances. Tragically, four females lost their lives at the hospital, while 13 others sustained injuries but are now in stable condition. Among the injured are two GSU officers, a National Youth Service officer, and two community health workers.
The ceremony, presided over by President Ruto, was well-attended, with crowds arriving as early as 3 am due to Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s announcement that the event would conclude early considering the rainy weather.
To honor the spirit of Mashujaa, President Ruto renamed the Kericho Green Stadium after Wilson Kiprugut, a revered figure in Kenya’s sports history. Kiprugut made history as the first Kenyan to win an Olympic medal, achieving this milestone at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, where he won a bronze medal in the 800 meters. His legacy continued with a silver medal in the same event at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
“Allow me to celebrate Kiprugut Chumo, the first Kenyan to win an Olympic medal, by renaming the Kericho Green Stadium after him,” Ruto said.