Well! You will be rightly forgiven for thinking that Malawi as a nation is another Travelling Theatre Company.The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) is scheduled to move the courts for contempt of court against government over the gazetting of the subsidiary legislation on coronavirus disease (Covid-19) preventive measures.
CDEDI acting executive director Sylvester Namiwa told Nyasa Times after meeting a lawyer on Sunday night that the gazetted subsidiary legislation is in fact a lockdown, which the court stopped its implementation until a judicial review is undertaken.
“CDEDI has been compelled to move the courts because the preventive measures have shamelessly disregarded a court order that stopped the same to allow for clear strategies on provision of safety nets to cushion the negative effects of a lockdown. We will not sit back and watch the Tonse Alliance government violate the rights of the people by taking advantage of the stable political environment to introduce pieces of legislation that are unilateral and lacking consultation,” said Namiwa.
He warned that the measures as spelt out by the Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda in Lilongwe on Sunday, have the potential to suffocate businesses, leading to loss of jobs among Malawians.
Namiwa added that it is sad that President Lazarus Chakwera, who rejected a lockdown when he was in opposition, has decided to backtrack on his stand on the matter ‘because he is now in the comfort of the presidency’.
“CDEDI continues to maintain its 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 how the affected people will be cushioned,” he said in a telephone interview.
Namiwa has since disclosed that their lawyers are doing paperwork to enable them secure a court order, stopping government from implementing the subsidiary legislation until it spells out the measures for alleviating the poor.
Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe said the new rules give power to the Minister of Heakth to declare an area with high Covid-19 cases restricted.
In such areas, recreation centres, workplaces and other facilities will remain closed, and movements in such areas will be restricted.