Following President Lazarus’s Chakwera non-adherence over the 50 people Coronavirus restriction at funerals, experts have expressed discontent over the development which they describe as troubling and faulted government for not walking the talk on the pandemic.
During his attendance at Mai Dinala’s funeral on Wednesday in Blantyre, Chakwera and those who accompanied him, threw caution to the wind in total disregard to the health guidelines as thousands of people thronged the vigil home and the church service of one of Malawi Congress Party’s staunch and dedicated member.
At the church service conducted at St Columbus Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), only 50 people were allowed inside the church.
Writing on his Facebook page, Chancellor College’s Dean of the faculty of Law Professor Edge Kanyongolo noted that if the Covid-19 guidelines are applied selectively by the Tonse administration especially in favour of the political elite, it vindicates the Marxist theory of law whose focus is that law is a tool in the hands of the elite who use it to benefit themselves and keep the poor in their place.
“One governance challenge that has often eroded the legitimacy of Malawian governments has been their failure to uphold the principle of the rule of law. One of the central pillars of this principle is 'equality before the law' which may be restated as 'no one is above the law. '
“For a government which came into power on the strength of the principles of legality and constitutionalism, its disregard of the equality before the law principle will be the supreme irony," said Kanyongolo.
The law professor stated that the development will be a troubling indicator of the beginning of the fraying of the edges on the fabric of the rule of law which is often the only fig leaf behind which can safeguard our country's limited endowments.
Writing on his Tweeter account Dr. Titus Divala and epidemiologist demanded firm and consistent political leadership on the pandemic.
“We demand that @MalawiGovernment and @health_malawi walk the talk!
The President’s attendance at the funeral was a litmus test in as far as government’s seriousness and adherence to the COVID-19 measures is concerned.
Churches in the country have also expressed wary over the 10 people gathering restriction as markets are left to transact their activities in a business as usual manner like there was no Corona virus while members of the church feel targeted.
A statement from the Prophetic Ministries Association of Malawi (PROMAM) signed by Prophet David Mbewe and Prophet Justice Hara faulted government on its unclear stance in as far as gatherings are concerned.
“The 10 limit gathering measure is so unclear because for once it is not being advanced in relative terms to space.10 people in a small room is not the same as 10 in a hall and or Church.
“How about 10 people in a super-market where air circulation is with limited ability than a church? “
“Or could it be that churches are easier prey for politicians as never has it been heard of believers marching in protest or causing disturbance? queried the religious body.
But presidential spokesperson Sean Kampondeni has said the part of the funeral that President Chakwera attended-the church service- adhered to COVID-19 restrictions.