Citizens’ Safety First Before Lockdown-HRDC
The Human Rights Defenders Coalition has yet again called on government to lay proper guidelines before effecting a national lockdown aimed at stemming further spread of coronavirus to avoid violation of people’s rights.
HRDC chairperson Gift Trapence told journalists in Lilongwe on Saturday that they obtained an injunction against the 21 day lockdown because they are not satisfied with the manner in which government intends to implement the shutdown which he said could inflict more pain on the citizenry.
“This is a poor country and we have poor Malawians, if we are locking them down it means they can die of hunger, so government need to come up with safety nets for Malawians during this lockdown period.” Said Trapence.
HRDC National Coordinator Luke Tembo thinks government rushed in making the decision. He said Malawians were not ready for the lockdown as evidenced by a spate of demonstrations that followed the lockdown announcement by government.
“The people are not in support of the lockdown. What they are asking are very pertinent questions to understand from government what will be the cushions for their livelihoods and government is not coming out clear on what its going to make sure people do not die of hunger and starvation.”Said Tembo
Another HRDC senior member Reverend Macdonald Sembereka called for transparency in the way government is using funds set aside for COVID 19 fight.
“People take advantage of resources that are made available through donor funding and others, government outline its budget on this.”
“We are already aware of the money that has been given to one of the organisation attached to the ruling party which is not accounted for and some of the procurements processes are done using short cuts to people attached to the ruling party.”
The Human Rights Body has also asked government to listen to calls by health workers for personal protective equipment in order for them to diligently execute their duties.
On Friday some concerned citizens namely Esther Kathumba and Monica Ching'anamuno, and CSOs including HRDC and Church and Society of the CCAP Synod of Livingston succeeded in obtained a court injunction restraining implementation of national lockdown aimed at steming further spread of COVID 19.
The court will in the next 7 days hear arguments from lawyers of concerned parties and decide on the future of the lockdown.