Rights activists, the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) have told government to involve parliament on the lockdown to thwart the spread of the coronavirus, saying failing which the State risks court action.
In a statement, HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence says the government should summon parliament to pass new legilsations to fight the virus pandemic.
“The available laws are inadequate to launch a lockdown in Malawi,” said Trapence.
His statement comes amid reports that three opposition legislators want to go to the courts to challenge the lockdown.
Trapence says the stimulus package to protect the economy is not there, saying this may lead to the collapse of the economy.
“Majority of Malawians are poor and live below poverty line. They can’t afford food on a daily basis and thus work to fend for themselves daily,” said Trapence.
He said if basic livelihood cannot be secured, a total lockdown is not practical.
Trapence contends that total lockdown should come with safety nets.
However, former Minister of Health Dr Peter Kumpalume supports the lockdown, saying there is no right or wrong in how the country can fight the outbreak.
“There is no better way. Just options. And all options are bad. A lockdown is bad. No lockdown is equally bad. The problem is we will not be able to compare which option is better as in this life experiment we would have tried just one option.
” If this option leads to anarchy the critics would say I told you so. If this option minimises infections the critics would say at what cost. If the other option was used and the numbers sky rocket the same critics would say this imbecile why did he not declare a lockdown. And this is the problem,” he argues.
He said when every option is seem with political eyes, they will always be bad.
Kumpalume said despite mixed feelings, Malawians agree that the country wants minimal infections.
“My opinion is if this is truly what we want, then a lockdown is the best option. If we want minimal numbers and a vibrant economy, then lets go to heaven. Here on earth it is difficult to square a circle,” he said.
Kumpalume some decisions are very difficult but they must be made.
“Good leaders make such decisions and own the consequences,” he said.
The country has 16 cases of coronavirus and has registered two deaths.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :