Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has dragged President Peter Mutharika and his Minister of Health, Jappie Mhango, to court challenging government decree on coronavirus lockdown as illegal.
The coalition argues that the lockdown is illegal and runs counter to the protection and promotion of human rights, particularly right to food, right to economic activities and political rights.
The HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence told journalists in Lilongwe that the coalition is doing everything within its means, including dragging authorities at the Capital Hill to court, for declaring an ‘illegal’ lockdown’ without putting in place measures to support underprivileged households with food supplies for the next 21 days.
Trapence challenged that the lockdown President Mutharika declared on Tuesday night does not have legal backing thereby making it illegal.
He alleged that the lockdown is a deliberate ploy by Mutharika and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to dodge fresh presidential election slated for July 2, 2020.
“We are not relenting on fighting for the rights of Malawians and I would like to assure everyone that HRDC will do anything possible to protect the interests of Malawians, particularly during this difficult time. We believe that this lockdown will violate the rights of Malawians in so many ways,” he said.
Trapence therefore demanded that government should suspend the lockdown and invite stakeholders to a meeting where the right approach to take to prevent further spread of Covid-19 can be mooted.
“Of course, we know that Mutharika does not listen. But we want to warn him that his decision will lead to huge suffering among Malawians. He has no choice, but to listen the voice of reason now. Otherwise, we will meet in the courts,” he said.
Another HRDC executive member, Reverend MacDonald Sembereka, alleged that the coalition is aware that the DPP-led government hatched the idea of nationwide lockdown to justify plunder of US$373,000, which the Global Fund has given Malawi for COVID-19 response.
“But we will not allow that to happen. We are watching every step you are staking on that money,” warned Sembereka.
Under the country’s lockdown lasting from April 18 until May 9, all non-essential businesses and services would cease.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :