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Malawi president Reverend Chakwera faulted on ‘anti-God’ Covid-19 measures: CSOs seek court redress

Attorney General Dr. Chikosa Silungwe (2nd from right) addressing the nation on the new gazetted subsidiary legislation

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)— The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) is scheduled to move the courts for contempt of court against government following the recently gazetted COVID-19 preventive measures.

According to CDED Executive Director, Sylvester Namiwa, the gazetted subsidiary legislation is in a fact a lockdown, which the court stopped its implementation until judicial review is undertaken.

“Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has been compelled to move the courts for contempt of court against government following the recently gazetted COVID-19 preventive measures which have shamelessly disregarded a court order stopping the same to allow for clear strategies on provision of safetynets to cushion the negative effects of a lockdown,” says Namiwa.

He added: “CDEDI continues to maintain it’s position that Government should clearly spell out cushion measures for people that have seriously been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. CDEDI has noted with disappointment that government has now come up with sugar-coated lockdown measures without spelling out clearly how the affected people will be cushioned (safety nets).

It is very clear that the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 measures will suffocate many businesses leading to more job losses. It is sad to note that president Lazarus Chakwera who rejected Lockdown when he was in Opposition and immediately after becoming the state president has decided to change tune, without any clear strategy on the same.”

Meanwhile, social media is abuzz with Chakwera’s resolve to ban religious gatherings considering that the president is also a man of God who served the Assemblies of God for several years as president.

Recently, Chakwera also called upon Malawians to prayers and fasting in the face of the novel coronavirus. It is therefore very surprising to hear from the same president that religious gatherings are banned while markets, big busses and parliament meeting will be in operation.

According to the new legislation gatherings of more than ten people will not be allowed except for national assembly and meetings to discuss Covid-19 and failure to put a mask in public places attract a fine of K10 000 or 90-days jail term.

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) which strongly opposed the same Covid-19 measures during the reign of Arthur Peter Mutharika and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is dead silent, a clear evidence that the grouping is pro Malawi Congress Party as already alleged before.

Attorney General Dr. Chikosa Silungwe said Public Health (Corona Virus and Covid-19) Prevention, Containment and Management Rules, 2020, gazetted on Friday came to force on Saturday 8th August, 2020.

Silungwe made the announcement Sunday at a press conference held at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe.

“What the rules have done is to convey the measures for the country to combat Covid-19. The rules contain general preventive measures to contain the escalation of Covid-19 like wearing face masks, provide for social distance of at least one metre from each other, washing hands with soap,” said Silungwe.

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