Angry Mzuzu City vendors on Thursday took to the streets to protrst against government’s decision to implement a 21-day lockdown as measure to contain Covid-19, the strain of coronavirus disease, saying it will cause more problems for the urban poor.
The market and street vendors who started the protests without notifying the authorities as stipulated in the law, vowed to defy the lockdown order.
Speaking in a random interview with Nyasa Times, vendors said the lockdown will create an economic disaster and asked government to first provide them food for the days.
“We shall not abide to the lockdown order. Give us food that will save our families for 21 days,” said Godwin Kaunda.
The vendors who closed their shops market areas said it was a “great mistake to think in terms of lives versus livelihoods”.
Many said they would rather die with Covid-19 than hunger.
Before the lockdown which starts on Saturday, the government announced a series of measures to cushion the economic effects, including Medef loan fund to help small businesses.
However, the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) while welcoming the lockdown, said more needed to be taken to ensure that Malawians would have jobs to return to once the pandemic was over.
MCTU also asked government and private sector to cushion workers.
President Peter Mutharika has warned that “if (we are ) not careful, Malawi could lose up to 50,000 lives from Cvodi-19.”
Mutharika said at a national address with Health Minister Jappie Mhango announcing the lockdown lasting from April 18 until May 9.
Mhango said all non-essential businesses and services would cease.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :