HRDC says not against lockdown: ‘Malawi govt should first insulate the poor’

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) chairperson Gift  Trapence has said they are not against measures to curb coronavirus, clarifying that they sought a court injunction because  government did not take measures to cushion poor during lockdown.

Trapence: Government should prevent to the poorest and most vulnerable of society

Trapence speaking  on Times Radio during the ‘Sunday Debate’ programme clarified his organisations’ decision to challenge  government’s planned three-week lockdown on Friday, which saw the  High Court  ordering a seven-day suspension.

“We are not against lockdown or any measures meant to curb the spread of coronavirus. But what we want is government to make more consultation to prevent harm to the poorest and most vulnerable of society,” said Trapence.

“We would want to see a more coordinate effort as a national response and  not a partisan  response,” he added.

Trapence said the national response should include all stakeholders including the civils society organisations, religious leaders and other political parties coming together to pull in one direction.

Small-scale traders, often young people, had been staging protests countrywide  against the planned lockdown, carrying placards declaring that it would be better to contract the virus than die of hunger because they are unable to work.

Most of those protesting called on the government to provide them with cash and food handouts if a lockdown went ahead.

The HRDC leader said they are simply calling on government to insulate the poor and average income earners from the lockdown

He said President Peter Mutharika should not be  is using the coronavirus outbreak to “prolong his stay in power,”  and defer the presidential fresh elections.

Mutharika, who in July is facing a re-run of last year’s annulled election, has declared a state of national disaster on coornavirus and announced the lockdown.

He has also banned public gatherings.

Trapence said the government should not use  coronavirus status as a scapegoat to continue the president’s rule.

Malawi’s Information Minister Mark Botomani dismissed such comments as “the usual noise” from civil society groups.

“Our focus as a government is to put everything in place to protect the lives of our people,” he said.

Health Minister Jappie Mhango said the number of coronavirus cases had risen to 17 from 16, saying three of the 17 coronavirus patients were recovering and could soon be declared cured.

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Naruto
10 months ago

Don’t start backtracking, when people start suffering we are coming for you homesexual Trapence

Munthu
Munthu
10 months ago

Botomani is the one that makes the “usual noise” that the government cares for the people. If it really cared, would it have declared a lockdown without consulting other interested parties?

Mbonga Matoga
Mbonga Matoga
10 months ago

The bottom line is that all sensible Malawians know that this lock down was and still is a politically motivated move by DPP to avoid the upcoming election in July and has nothing to do with saving lives. A sensible govt would have consulted the major stakeholders including the opposition to carry the people with them before the lockdown was announced……dictatorships does not work even in times of national emergencies. Secondly we need a locally tailored lock down solution for our country and not copying what other rich countries are doing. Western governments introduced lock downs in their countries together… Read more »

Kandulu
Kandulu
10 months ago
Reply to  Mbonga Matoga

Well spoken chief. Straight to the point. For the love of Malawi.

Covid the equaliser
Covid the equaliser
10 months ago

Unfortunately whatever you say now Mr Trapence Vendor saalola. You have him an inch and be assured that he will take a mile and Malawians will die. Even if safetynets are put Some careless statements have been made by people that covid is not real in Malawi. Munthu wakumudzi ndiovuta. That mindset will not easily be reversed but goodluck.

Pumbwa
Pumbwa
10 months ago

For the inter-party hearing on Friday, HRDC should prepare well. Some of the countries that have been most successful in keeping Covid 19 at bay have in fact not implemented lockdowns at all. Their approach has been aggressive testing, contact tracing and quarantining those who test positive. These countries/territories are Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea. The DPP government should realize that they have no choice but to spend the billions set aside for Covid 19 on these important areas: Extensive testing, thorough contact tracing, and effective quarantine of positive people. Without these three measures, a lockdown won’t achieve… Read more »

Test
Test
10 months ago
Reply to  Pumbwa

I hope you realise that all the countries that you have mentioned are high tech and mobile phones have been used a lot in contact tracing. Not everyone has a mobile phone in Malawi. However let us use examples of countries that are very similar to us and are somehow managing thins issue successfully and I wish to go with Uganda. I agree that testing, quarantine etc are important but Uganda was one of the first countries to lockdown after the soonest case and until now it has not had a death. Uganda is very familiar with pandemics e.g Ebola… Read more »

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