AG Challenges Lockdown Injunction
Attorney General Kalekeni Kaphale wants the High Court to withdraw the injunction on lockdown in totality before it convenes for an inter parte hearing.
The request is contained in the affidavit he has filed with the High Court of Malawi Lilongwe District Registry in opposition to the injunction restraining government from imposing a 21 day lockdown to stem further spread of the coronavirus which causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
High Court and Supreme Court of Appeal registrar, Agnes Patemba, said the court will consider the matter during the inter parte hearing on Friday.
"When it granted the injunction on the lockdown, the court made directions on how the matter will be handled. It clearly indicated that the court will convene for an inter parte hearing on Friday (24 April 2020) so this application will also be reviewed at that time," said Patemba.
Lawyer for the claimants, Sullivan Kagundu, told Zodiak Online they are ready to argue the matter in court.
"We expected that the Attorney General would respond to the issue that we had raised. In fact we would have been more surprised if they had not done that. So at this point we leave it to the court to decide on the whether to allow or disallow the lockdown," said Kagundu.
"The lockdown derogates from the rights that are contained in chapter 4 of the constitution of Malawi and it our clients’ belief that the minister of health has no legal mandate to declare a lockdown," he said.
The Attorney General could not be reached to comment on the matter.
Some concerned ctizens including Members of Parliament Esther Cecilia Katumba and Monica Chang'anamuno and Civil Society Organisations Human Rights Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and Church and Society of CCAP Synod of Livingstonia successfully obtained an injunction blocking government from effecting a national lockdown.
Minister of Health Jappie Mhango announced on 14 April that the Malawi would be on lockdown for 21 days from the midnight of Saturday 18 April to midnight on Friday 8 May in an effort to control further spread of the deadly coronavirus.