Malawi Police have swiftly sprung up to their defence over stinging attacks on their decision to close churches on Sunday, saying this was done in public interest.
Police closed down some churches in Balaka as a preventive measure against coronavirus.
Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said this was done to enforce the government order of suspending public gatherings.
“This order was made to minimize the spread of the coronavirus and this was done before the announcement of the lockdown,” he said.
Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda is this Wednesday expected to rule on whether to allow the government implement the lockdown or not following a legal challenge mounted by Human Rights Defenders Coalition and some Malawi Congress Party members of parliament.
The court extended the injunction to stop government from suspending or implementing the complete closure of religious gatherings and police action could trigger contempt of court proceeding of acting Inspector General of Police Duncan Mwapasa.
In his order, Judge Nyirenda stated that any church in Malawi should not be suspended from gathering until the delivery if the court’s ruling.
Meanwhile, pastors in Balaka on Sunday evening met to demand Police explanation on why, earlier the day, they went around the district disrupting church gatherings in the name of Covid-19.
Pastor Lington Gwazeni, who is the chairperson of the Evangelical Association of Malawi Balaka Chapter says they summoned the Officer In-Charge for Balaka Police and District Council Chair to explain their action.
The police boss did not show up and Council Chair Steve Sauka says the Police did not consult the council about the move.
President Peter Mutharika announced the country would enter into a three-week lockdown and said the measure could be extended if needed.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :