Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale has withdrawn an application to the High Court to challenge an injunction obtained by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) stopping implementation of a three-week national lockdown to curb coronavirus.
Government through lawyer Neverson Chisiza from Attorney General Chambers on Wednesday filed a sworn statement with the High Court of Malawi Lilongwe District Registry in opposition to the injunction restraining government from imposing a lockdown.
But while High Court judge Kenyatta Nyirenda was set to consider the matter during the inter parte hearing on Friday, Attorney General has withdrawn and said government will not challenge it.
In a notice of withdraw dated April 23 2020 to court seen by Nyasa Times, Attorney General states that they have “carefully considered their position, and no longer desirous to argue any application to vacate the interlocutory injunction or to be heard.”
The notice also states that government is no longer desirous to contest the permission to move for judicial review.
Kaphale, who is government’s chief legal adviser, said they have withdrawn the challenge as the Executive trust that the Judiciary will do “the right thing” based on the prevailing virus pandemic crisis the country is in right now.
He said “the fact that the virus is out there and spreading quickly is very self-evident.”
Kaphale said they had initially filed to vacate the injunction but after reflection government decided that it should not waste precious time in court urging when it is obvious out there the threat to human lives.
Some concerned citizens including Members of Parliament Esther Cecilia Katumba and Monica Chang’anamuno and civil society organisations including HRDC and Church and Society of CCAP Synod of Livingstonia successfully obtained an injunction blocking government from effecting a national lockdown.
They argued that more consultation was needed to prevent harm to the poorest and most vulnerable of society.
Minister of Health Jappie Mhango announced on 14 April that the Malawi would be on lockdown for 21 days from the midnight of Saturday 18 April to midnight on Friday 8 May in an effort to control further spread of the deadly coronavirus with President Peter Mutharika saying if authorities were not careful, up to 50,000 lives could be lost.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :