Malawi Police have been forced to spray teargas as they clashed with vendors in Limbe – Blantyre, who were staging protests against a three-weeks coronavirus lockdown which comes into effect at the weekend, vowing to disregard it.
The informal traders were burning tyres and blocked the road in protest over the lockdown scheduled to start on Saturday midnight .
President Peter Mutharika announced a 21-day lockdown up to May 9 2020 to contain the spread of the coronavirus which has claimed two lives and 16 patients.
But the informal traders said they would not adhere to the directive.
This comes following government’s failure to announce any measures to cushion the poor during the lockdown.
Apart from vendors, many Malawians have taken to social media platforms expressing fears on the lockdown and how it will negatively affect their livelihood.
Special Cabinet Committe on Coronavirus have been giving conflicting information on some issues, including measures to contain the pandemic.
But ist chairperson, Minister of Health Jappie Mhango said tha Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development will this Friday announce measures to cushion the poor during the lockdown.
Criticis say it it was a genuine offer, it could have been included in President Mutharika’s announcement of lockdown.
The protests in Limbe-Blantyre comes a day after thousands of vendors in the northern town of Mzuzu also marched to the city council’s offices protesting the shutdown.
They brandished banners with slogans such as “Lockdown more poisonous than corona” and “We’d rather die of corona than of hunger”.
Malawi is one of the poorest countries on the continent where more than half of the population live below the poverty threshold.