The High Court in Lilongwe is on Tuesday expected to rule in a matter which the Minister of Health declaration of the lockdown in April was challenged through a judicial review process that was then certified as a constitutional matter.
Ministry of Justice spokesperson Pilirani Masanjala says all parties in the case made their submissions to the court 10 days ago and the judge will make the ruling on Tuesday.
Some concerned citizens, that included Prophet David Mbewe and Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) sought the court’s relief and an injunction was issued against a lockdown before the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration was ousted from power in the June 23 2020 fresh presidential election.
But the Tonse Alliance administration of Lazarus Chakwera, now made first respondent in the case as President of Malawi, on July 10 issued yet another set of Covid-19 restrictions through Ministry of Health, almost similar to those the initial injunction had stopped.
The development prompted new Attorney General (AG) Chikosa Silungwe to write co-chairperson of the Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus Dr John Phuka to stop enforcement of the new restrictions because there was a standing injunction against the same.
The then opposition, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM opposed to the former government of the DPP to impose a Covid-19 lockdown, saying the former ruling party wanted to use the disease to avoid holding the court sanctioned election.
Malawi has since registered over 3300 confirmed cases with almost 100 deaths.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Local government officials have held discussions with all council members in the country where they have agreed to suspend some activities as Covid-19 preventive measures.
The meeting has, among others, agreed to suspend mobile markets, vending, reduce public transport capacity to 60 per cent, suspend all meeting and conferences, reduce time for bars and bottlestore opening from 2pm to 8pm just for takeaways only and mandatory wearing of face masks.
These strict measures would be in place after the court ruling on Tuesday.
Ministry of Health’s Kuunika Team projected that without interventions, Malawi would register as many as 16 million infections and 50 000 Covid-19 deaths.