General Namathanga (L) and Police IG Mwapasa (R)

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—Malawi Police acting Inspector General Duncan Mwapasa, in collaboration with the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), has warned of prosecution for people breaching national lockdown orders put in place due to the covid-19 pandemic.

Mwapasa has issued the warning today 16th April, 2020 during a press briefing held at the Malawi Police headquarters in Lilongwe.

“Whoever wishes to disrupt the lockdown order shall be dealt with according to the law and all dictates of the rule of law and human rights. The MDF will be deployed as complimentary force.

“Our last resort is making arrest, which we do not want to do. What we are trying to get is volunteer compliance, and that we all work together on this. We are trying to deal with the spirit of the law,” said Mwapasa.

In his remarks, MDF commander, General Peter Namathanga, said the army is empowered by the law to play complementary role in exercises such as the Covid-19 lockdown.

“Military personnel will be deployed to make sure that Malawians comply with the lockdown order as a way of saving lives,” he said.

But one commentator has faulted the security agencies, saying “Using excessive force and detention will not quell the empty stomachs of Malawians.”

Malawi leader Peter Mutharika has announced a 21-day national lockdown as the country’s coronavirus figures surged on Monday to 16 from 12.

According to the president, the measure will initially be effective at midnight on Saturday, 18th April, 2020 and it will end on Saturday 9th May, 2020, at midnight.

He said the move was to help disrupt the rise of the coronavirus which has been rising since the first case was recorded last month.

However, opposition parties and civil society organizations have criticized the president for implementing the lockdown without safety measures.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) is reportedly considering to seek court order against the implementation of the lockdown.

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