Experts warn of lockdown ‘catastrophe’ in Malawi

Legal scholar, who is also Dean of Law at University of Malawi’s (Unima) School of Law Sunduzwayo Madise, has said the coronavirus (Covid-19) measures which Minister of Health Jappie Mhango has published in the  Malawi Gazette – official government publication- including  a nationwide lockdown should not be involving curtailing of people’s rights and freedoms.

Madise: We arrest this demon it its tracks

In the notice, Mhango, who is also chairing the Special Cabinet Committee on Covid-19,  says: “In exercise of powers conferred by Section 31 of the Public Health Act and pursuant to my declaration of coronavirus disease as a formidable disease on the 1st day of April 2020,  I Jappie Chancy Mtuwa Mhango, Minister of Health, make the following rules….5. Certification enforcement officers…11 Lockdown.”

Nyasa Times on Sunday reported that the country may enter into a 21-day lockdown starting this week as a measure of limiting the spread of the virus pandemic

But  Madise writing on his Facebook  page where he has been very influential as a mover and shaker of public opinion in matter of law, said a lockdown imports martial law.

“There is strict limitation of citizens rights including movements. The military and the  police typically take over, patrol the streets and enforce the lockdown, except those who are allowed to move, the country is essentially under house arrest conditions. Everything grinds to a standstill,” he wrote.

Madise, who is also in  the seventh Cohort of Commissioners for the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), said the rules which Minister Mhango has published in the Gazette are subsidiary or secondary legislation while primary legislation is the public Health Act.

“Most primary legislation has provisions in which Parliament delegates its authority to, usually a line minister, to promulgate subsidiary legislation.

“The principal of law however is that you cannot change the scope and power if primary legislation through secondary legislation,” he commented.

Madise said outbreak is a serious issue demanding action from the Head of State and not rules by a Cabinet minister.

The Dean of Law said he was not against lockdown measure but wants to ensure  that “we arrest this demon [curtailing people’s liberties]  it its tracks.”

Madise said to have subsidiary legislation limit constitutional rights would be tantamount to amending or limiting the power of the Constitution of Malawi “via the backdoor.”

He  schooled  government that the right law to deal with such drastic measures like lockdown us Declaration of a State of Emergency by the President under the Constitution, not rules made by a Minister.

“This is a serious issues which needs the full power of the law in dealing with it,” he said.

Declaration of State of Emergency is made through Parliament’s approval “only in times of war or widespread natural disaster”, according to Section 45 (2) (c) of the Constitution.

Meanwhile,  University of Malawi economics professor Ben Kaluwa  has said the coronavirus lockdown could be a “catastrophe” for the country’s economy.

He said businesses are going to fail, livelihoods are going to be damaged in a lockdown.

“We have seen lockdown paralysing economy in Italy, China and other countries and this cannot spare Malawi,” he said.

The coronavirus lockdown is already delivering a hammer blow to the economies of countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe , Uganda and Kenya.

But minister Mhango said  the priority for government is to protect people’s lives and then subsequently protect their livelihoods.

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Cairo
Cairo
5 months ago

The author used the word “Catastrophy” as elaborated what are considered experts,in what? Thats nonsense. For instance, you cant call Madise as an expert when you are talking about health issues. In this issue, Madise is just as good as a carpenter or a builder etc, ndiamodzi. It looks people are being stupid with their views on the virus, may be beacuse not many have lost lives in Malawi including their relatives. The same happened with HIV/AIDS, people realised it after it had entered their homes. Dont forget that Madise is purely pro opposition, anything that the government does is… Read more »

Ngulukira
Ngulukira
5 months ago
Reply to  Cairo

APM is a Satanist who is prepared to shed blood. Malawians are clever and peace-loving. They have evaded all his plans to spark civil war in Malawi. This cannot happen in West Africa, DRC, North Africa. We will continue evading you and avoid war until you get out of that seat.

Bwabwalala Mlakho
Bwabwalala Mlakho
5 months ago

This lockdown is for people in the south. The center and the north will have life as normal.

Boma lenileni
Boma lenileni
5 months ago

Madise could be right… ponder this how does one effect lockdown in say Ntandile, mchesi, chezi chiputula, Kasalika, Bumba in Rumphi, Chikwawa in Rumphi , Chamama, Malomo, Nkhamenya for example, Bolero, khwawa in Karonga, The worst place Dzaleka Camp check the congestion there Chilumba, chitete in Kasungu, Kwa mbiya, Santhe, mbayani,sigerege, and other conjested locations, where they use communal pit latrines, washrooms, how about food arrangements? thats where the effects of liberties Madise is talking about comes from. Unless we strategise these properly we could end up in rioting and demonstrations!

Bristone Mabichi
Bristone Mabichi
5 months ago
Reply to  Boma lenileni

I live on the peripheral of Ndirande and I can foresee rioting and demonstrations: These people live by the hour. Just a load shading of electricity within few hours brings disaster now 21 days. The government must put measures in place at least minimal to keep people alive in their homes or …

Thumbwe boy
5 months ago

Does this government protect its citizens or abuse them? Since when have we ever seen dpp protecting its citizen? Chamba eeti!

Kadyankena Mbiri njankhoswe
Kadyankena Mbiri njankhoswe
5 months ago

Whatever you set to confuse people, minister this, state president that. Is good for u not local Malawians. Leave us alone or became the president ur self.if lock down even it meant to save a single life of a Malawian. It is essential to us all Malawians who lives real life out there. Not those who takes people’s life unto puzzle board!

Yasin Jailosi
Yasin Jailosi
5 months ago

As much freedom as ppsible as many restrictions as necessary

Flamingo
Flamingo
5 months ago

Freedom and rights leading to death. Kodi ma lawyer anthu onse ndi a human rights basi

Zio ine
Zio ine
5 months ago

This is total garbage. I have noted more feaces are coming from Chanco may because schools closed and they have lots of free time to share their feaces.

Lute
Lute
5 months ago

Madise ni chindere chakufikapo. Can’r stand his loud-mouth in the media everyday. Stupid thief from Chanco

john phiri
john phiri
5 months ago

this guy is partially mad. what is his best arrangement in this that the masses cannot get the virus and go on with our businesses as usual?
as painful as some decision may look it is necessary to undertake them in the future even madise will appreciate.

Game changer
5 months ago
Reply to  john phiri

He is not against lockdown, he is trying to let government use the right procedure to avoid creating unnecessary confusion. If we use the act to announce this and another business man is caught doing something to contray, he may hide behind this gap. When a judge is brought for his service, the suspect my get away with it, and the public will be dissatisfied with the judge yet the government goofed from the beginning

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