Malawi Law Society queries government on Covid-19 ‘illegal’ actions: Chimulirenji has mandate to lead 

Malawi Law Society (MLS) in its Legal Guidance Paper on Management of the Novel Global Coronavirus (Covid-19) has added its voice to criticism of government of politicising the management of the outbreak and that the response to Covid-19 should operate within the legal framework.


Minister of Disaster Chimulirenji (r) according to the law he is mandated to lead the disaster response while Minister of Health Jappie Mhango (L) lack legal backing as chair of cabinet committe
Minister of Health Jappie Mhango confers with Minister of Local Government on measures put in place towards COVID-19 prevention  but the law body say their Cabinet Committe has no legal manadate
MLS president Chidongondo Mhango and honourary secretary Kaukonde:  Fault government on legal fronts in managing Covid-19

The law society has accused government on acting illegal on most of the decision it has made in the management of the outbreak.

Its guidance lends credence to calls by various stakeholders to demand inclusivity, transparency, accountability and respect for the rule of law in the fight against the virus pandemic.

MLS’s 40-paged guidance paper dated April 20 2020 seen by Nyasa Times  expresses concern on how funding for Covid-19 has been expended in compliance with Section 173 of the Constitution, Section 23 of the Public Finance Management Act, and sections 35, 36 and 38 of the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act.

“How is the K15 billion fund that was set up by the President been managed? At law, after  March 20 2020 this fund became the National Disaster Preparedness and Relief Fund and out to vest in Hon. Everton Chimulirenji, as Minister of Disaster Management Affairs and Public Events who is a mere member of the Special Cabinet Committee,” the guidance paper says.

The law body observes that the country’s virus response has been unconstitutional because it falls foul of the available and applicable legal requirement.

Jointly signed by MLS president Burton Chidongondo Mhango, Vice-president Patrick Mpaka, honourary secretary Martha Kaukonde and regional chapter presidents, the Law Society letter said it remains “desirable and prescribed in the national interest that in managing the disaster at hand no other disaster should be created to manage the current crisis.”

The Law Society pointed out that Malawi is not in a State of Emergency and, therefore, no constitutionally guaranteed rights should be suspended or derogated.

MLS noted that President Peter Mutharika declared a State if Disaster on March 20 2020 and that by law, the declaration confers mandate on the Minister of Disaster Preparedness – the current one is Everton Chimulirenji – and Relief Committee of Malawi and the Commissioner for Disaster Preparedness and Relief as “the only authority that the law has given the mandate to facilitate or manage a response during a State of Disaster.”

The Law Society explains that the law defines such response as ‘Civil Protection’.

It says the mandate that President Mutharika gave to the Special Cabinet Committee  to manage Covid-19  “wholly falls within the mandates of the minister [Chimulirenji], the committee and the commissioner for Disaster Preparedness and Relief.”

Any decision, initiative or action taken by the Special Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 led by Minister of Health Jappie Mhango after March 20 has been lacking legal authority, the law body states.

It further states that the Special Cabinet Committee’s “only responsibility” after March 20 2020 is to advise the President with respect to government policies in Covid-19.

There are also concerns in the report that the  Caninet special committee  has been sidelining the Malawi Medical Council and the Society of Medical Doctors which are two institutions with legal mandate in the provision of civil protection in the declared disaster.

“To deny these two institutions any role in the provision of civil protection pursuant to the declaration of a state of disaster or to deny or ignore to consider their proposals through active consultation is to deny parliamentary oversight and to deny citizenship participation through Parliamentary representation in the response to Covid-19; and the provision of civil protection,”  reads the guidance paper.

Minister of Health  Mhango has  also disregarded the Constitutional dictates of separation of powers and trampled on rule of law as has been done in the rules in promulgated Corona Virus Rules, the law body observed.

MLS then asked the recommended an urgent overhaul and realignment of the crisis management structure to mitigate the breaches already identified.

“The new crisis management regime must build on what has already been done, regularise the serious irregularities identified, bring in the statutory interlocutors mainly the Medical Council of Malawi or the Society of Medical Doctors and the Malawi Law Society to play a professional role and for the political arms to settle political difference in legislative instruments,”  reads MLS letter

The Law Sociery said this  will allow the Government to act lawfully and proportionately while grappling with the current emergency and pushing the nation on the path to recovery from the pandemic.

The Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale said he could not comment because he had not read the letter as he was not copied.

Malawi has so far recorded three deaths and 23 cases of the virus.

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Malikebu
10 months ago

Malawi law society??? Looks like Tumbuka Law society to me. Nepotism basi.

King Xerxes
King Xerxes
10 months ago
Reply to  Malikebu

Stupidity

Mtumbuka wa Zeru
Mtumbuka wa Zeru
10 months ago

Away with this dead dog called APM he has destroyed our Nation

Chinsapato cha Mrs Chakwera

I find it funny, Tumbukas claim to be very smart yet kumpoto is very under developed it’s actually Stone Age down there you can’t even find toilet paper or table salt let alone lifebuoy yet these stupid people are in the central and southern region building houses while their parents and grand parents wipe their asses with Masamba Achinangwa. You Tumbukas are very stupid. kukokelana school nditchito through nepotism basi kumakunamizani. For a long while now heads of many organisations and agencies in this country have been led by Tumbukas no wonder we are not going anywhere as a country.… Read more »

mwanachekha
10 months ago

The Malawi judiciary is full of Nepotism and corrupt beyond reproach judges with no credibility whatsoever.No iota of justice at all, not even a hint. It is a facade of a system.Its actually worse than parliament and the whole political establishment. Malawi judges are the worst scum, vermin to be exact

Kandulu
Kandulu
10 months ago
Reply to  mwanachekha

You are saying that because they refused your bloody money. If they are corrupt, prove it. They refused your bribes and now they are evil after putting DPP in power in 2014.

Kalvin kaliwamba
Kalvin kaliwamba
10 months ago

Peter muntharika is a professor by name,but in real sense he is Pumbwa and he sleeping on duty

Ndondocha
10 months ago

Meanwhile you are very awake and writing nonsense like this. Go back to sleep

Phwisa
Phwisa
10 months ago

Ask Chakwera about convid 19, he will tell u he doesn’t believe it exists in Malawi. What he knows is MEC delaying elections. And in the villages in Lilongwe everybody is denying there is corona.

The SNIPER
The SNIPER
10 months ago
Reply to  Phwisa

You sound like idiot, if Chakwera doesn’t believe about Covid19, how come he donated towards the same? Tangopangani zolongosoka Dziko mulamule bwino ili, failing which,, mukodza magazi.

Ndondocha
10 months ago
Reply to  Phwisa

The same Chakwera who has been hiding, quarantining himself and his family while you stupid followers expose yourselves to this virus?

James Banda
James Banda
10 months ago
Reply to  Phwisa

And your comment stinks just like your name. Idiot

Namarokoro
Namarokoro
10 months ago

It is sad that you are wasting your time with stupid arguments – this is Covid-19 and not politics. Whether you like Mutharika or not you need to act now. Abale anga mupululuka ngati nkhuku zachitopa. This Covid-19 is not a joke. Today in Malawi you have 33 infections reported and be assured that the actual numbers are way higher than this. Lockdown assists to prevent the spread of this virus once it hits you it is almost impossible to control. You see how people are dying in New York ( the richest yard on earth). I pray that those… Read more »

Old timers
Old timers
10 months ago
Reply to  Namarokoro

That’s very true, why wasting time with stupid arguments, who has heard lawyers in all countries, going through this difficult times arguing about what’s going around them, and we think Malawi has best lawyers in the world apart from being corrupted,does law and medicine the same , definitely it’s a big no, this is for the health care workers, such as doctors who can argue about covid-19, so it’s better for those practicing medicine who are better to argue were the government is going wrong or not ,it seems lawyers in Malawi are not believing that, covid-19 is existing, don’t… Read more »

Kandulu
Kandulu
10 months ago
Reply to  Namarokoro

We need to contain APM first. He is more dangerous that COVID 19. No one is refusing lockdown. All we are saying is that the money APM received, K157 billion to be specific, needs to be distributed to everyone just like what RSA, USA, UK are doing. What is wrong with that? We are not demanding free internet. We want cash right now to use during the lockdown. We will do everyhting to cut it out of APM if he insists on refusing to give it in peace. That money belongs to Malawians.

master
master
10 months ago

A law professor who has lost every case that is very dear to his heart very embarrasing honestly

Kandulu
Kandulu
10 months ago
Reply to  master

It baffles me too. In fact Jane and Peter could have just presented themselves in court looking at their Law Experience. They did not need lawyers or at bare minimum they should be able to tell the lawyers what to do. No need to hire RSA lawyers at all. These court cases are the time when they should rise and shine. Show that they are indeed King and Queen of the Law. Fake Professor and I wonder how Jane became Supreme Court Judge.

cinangwa bho
cinangwa bho
10 months ago
Reply to  master

inuuu awa analibe mbili ya u profession komwe analiko. anangodzatola cikwamaci pano. za awa sitkuziziwa. iwe have been feeding him from day one he stepped on to our soil.
awa ankangowayawaya kuno akutionerera . idiot

YRUsostupid!
10 months ago

It’s just a virus.

Silica gell
10 months ago

It is the executive discharging those duties, MLS says what is already on the ground.

Mota
Mota
10 months ago

Malawi society is doing well to retain its position otherwise it was going into obsolete situation as they were guessing what they thought would happen. They were surprised with Concourt ruling and those with sober minds were shamed. Now they working hard to shade off mud. Good work so far but you can do better. Otherwise we could perish together if you paid a blind eye to wrong and call it good. When cosquencies come they do not choose that this is Malawi Law Society please spare them, not it crushes.

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