Lockdown resistance gain momentum in Malawi: Protests held countrywide

A wave of protests, some of them violent, has hit some parts of the country as informal business sector players, most of them vendors, took to the streets to demonstrate against the 21-day lockdown to tackle spread of coronavirus.

Protestors in Mangochi against lockdown without cushions

There were protests in Mangochi, Blantyre, Mzuzu, Kasungu, Karonga, and Zomba.

In Kasungu, police used teargas to disperse violent protesters who were attacking shops at the business square at the Boma.

They started attacking the shops after some of them had presented a petition to the district commissioner, protesting against the lockdown which they said will have a negative impact on their businesses.

They carried tree branches and sang anti-government songs.

In Karonga, the protests started at Karonga Freedom Park and ended in the main market as the vendors expressed anger over the lockdown which they said would cut off their lifeline.

In Zomba, the vendors closed the main market and marched to Civic offices where they said they wanted to get clarification on the council decision to close down the main market during the lockdown.

In Ndirande, scores of people marched from the populated Blantyre township to council offices where they presented their petition.

In eastern lakeshore district of Mangochi, traders and women marched to the District Commissioner’s office carrying placards of protests and singing anti-lockdown songs, saying it will only make them starve to death.

The protesters’ leader Madalitso Kalipide told journalists that much as they understood that the lockdown was meant to stop the spread of the Coronavirus, they found the measure too harsh for their survival.

“We want government to provide us with upkeep money to survive on during the 21 days because we cannot afford to stay home without food,” said Kalipinde.

He added: “Most of us rely on daily earnings to provide for our families and without going out to sell our merchandise we cannot survive.”

However, at the DC’s office the protesters were advised to direct their petition to the Mangochi Town Council under whose jurisdiction businesses around the Boma fall.

Mangochi Town Council Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Abubakar Nkhoma, said his office had received the petition through the Mangochi police and that he would forward it to the appropriate authorities.

“We have received the petition and we will forward it to the Office of the President and Cabinet through the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development,” Nkhoma told the media.

Meanwhile, following recent measures put in place by government through the Special Committee on Coronavirus, all bars and restaurants at the Boma are closed while all public offices, markets, shops and other busy places are urged to follow stipulated measures such as hand washing and social distancing.

Minister of Information and government spokesperson Mark Botomani said the government was aware of the protests.

“We are engaging them to see how best we can handle the situation,” he said.

The country has 16 cases of coronavirus and lost two people due to the disease.

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Mtondowodoka
Guest

Only time will tell. The disease is here,it’s among us. Expect huge fallout from this. One way or the other, one will be vindicated, either government or the opposition. It remains to be seen. Let’s wait.

Name
Guest
Name

Why are you mention opposition in your comment twat? People are saying no to lockdown without cushioning them….

mfumujay
Guest
mfumujay

A “copy and paste” lockdown program brought into effect without any proper wide-ranging consultation!

Madando Tippex
Guest
Madando Tippex

Right from the word go, DPP thieves made sure that they were not going to involve anybody outside their government knowing that there would be a lot of money to steal from like the president’s wife has already done, now they are dancing to their own tune. If they are not careful, they may loose quite a handful of votes as well.

Malawi belong to the citizens
Guest

But why should Malawians go on lockdown without food,yet the president has too much food at his palace.Ministers has too much food also in their houses.The police and soldiers has enough food. Why poor Malawians should die of during lockdown.The government was not well prepared for this.Do not push people into lockdown just because they are poor.Human beings have rights to food.The government should distribute mask to all Malawians instead.Anyone without a mask should answer some questions why he or she did not put a mask on.Businesses can continue.The government was supposed to distribute food parcels the same way they… Read more »

WaWa
Guest
WaWa

Highly irresponsible for government not to consider and address the difficulties which the poor were expected to face. Mutharika could have asked his corrupt Indian traders to donate to a fund to provide basic food soap etc to the poor and supplemented the cost with government funding. Unless the old age pensioner Mutharika has no real understanding of how and why the poor will suffer because of the lockdown. At the same time it is shameful to see Chilima and Chakwera and their wives wearing Face Masks to protect themselves whilst they accuse government of “cut and paste” measures on… Read more »

The Sniper.
Guest
The Sniper.

The test of time, this pandemic is really going to reveal who the President is.
No one should mention the Opposition here.
Full scale, Baba we are smashing this Government.

Afro - Optimist
Guest
Afro - Optimist

Stupidity and ignorance is what will kill you all. Corona is not Malaria.

Hate it or take it but it's a fact
Guest

U have everything on your table so nothing wrong with u about the lock down but some of us have nothing to support our family for 21days without operating our businesses .
U want our family to die of hunger just to save the u rich people from Coronavirus??
Zilipano ndi zatonse , let’s share our Billions for Coviid 19 given by W.H.O and what the government allocated from our budget then after bring that 21days in the offing and no one will complain .

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