Chakwera declares Malawi a State of National Disaster

Lazarus Chakwera
  • Malawi enters 3 days of national mourning

Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera has declared a state of national disaster and has appealed for contributions towards resources needed to meet the challenges of handling the coronavirus pandemic.

Making a national address in Lilongwe, on a day he lost two of his senior cabinet ministers, Lingson Belekenyama and Sidik Mia, the President said this was a step towards a possible declaration of a State of Emergency.

Chakwera, then told the nation of an emergency meeting of the Presidential Taskforce to explore additional COVID-19 prevention measures to be explored immediately. 

He has also directed a couple of ministries among them those of Education, Homeland Security, Defence, Information to work with the Vice President to review the current regulations and recommend any changes.

"I know you feel dismayed by this evil. I know together we are a nation in mourning, you feel under siege.

"I want you to know that we as a people have what it takes to defeat this. We must rise together as one army to fight this off...we can do it and we must do it," he said, urging Malawians to wear a mask in public.

On the death of the two cabinet ministers and those of over 250 others, he has directed all national flags to fly at half mask in observance of three days of mourning as " we find ourselves in our darkest hours in the nation's history."

"Its an uncalculable loss. Our grief can not be measured," he said reacting to the death of the two minister, one of them his party's vice president in the Malawi Congress Party.

In his five-minute radio address on Sunday, Chakwera said the spread of the second strain was “very disturbing,” asking Malawians not to be complacent in adhering to the measures directed by the Presidential Taskforce.

“We are paying the price because many of us are back to our ways of not wearing masks. Many of us are back to our old ways of not maintaining our distance from each other. Many of us are back to our old ways of not washing hands regularly," he said.

The President admitted he was one of those including other government officials who have not been abiding by the regulations but said this needs to end now.

A number of Chakwera’s cabinet ministers come public to confirm that they had tested positive.

On Tuesday, Malawi lost two cabinet ministers Sidik Mia and Lingson Belekenyama to the virus.

On Monday, Malawi registered 452 new COVID-19 cases, 14 new recoveries, and 10 new deaths, quite unprecedented. 

Of the new cases, 278 of the new cases are locally transmitted infections.