Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale has said High Court judge Kenyatta Nyirenda who on Friday granted a temporary injunction against the government’s 21-day coronavirus lockdown period pending a judicial review within seven days, did not issue an order against the virus to stop spreading.
Kaphale said government is yet to make a decision on whether to challenge the injunction obtained by Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), which argued that more consultation was needed to prevent harm to the poorest and most vulnerable of society.
“We only lament the fact that the virus spreads quickly in communities that are not socially distancing and are not on lockdown,” said Kaphale.
“In the seven days that the judge has given for the inter-parties hearing, he did not issue an order against the virus to stop spreading,” said the government’s chief legal adviser.
Kaphale continued: “If the pandemic accelerates in the seven days given, the nation knows who to blame and for a fact, it will not be [the problem of] government.”
President Peter Mutharika has cautioned that if authorities were not careful, up to 50,000 lives could be lost to the virus pandemic.
In the days leading up to the court order suspending lockdown, vegetable vendors and other traders took to the streets nationwide to protest. Many have said that coronavirus poses less of a threat than hunger.
The Covid-19 outbreak comes in the midst of an intense political crisis after the Constitutional Court cancelled Mutharika’s his re-election last year and ordered a fresh elections which has been slated for July 2.
An appeal by the President and Malawi Electoral Commission is at the Supreme Court of Appeal which will be determined likely this month end.
Malawi is one of the 16 landlocked nations in Africa, sharing borders with Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania.