Malawi: Mutharika Attacks Judiciary for Undermining COVID-19 Fight, As Malawi Cases Rise to 336

President Peter Mutharika being briefed on COVID-19 related innovations at Malawi University of Science (MUST).

President Peter Mutharika has again hit at the Judiciary for blocking the government's proposed coronavirus lockdown and push ahead with mass campaign rallies - ignoring all social distancing and the ban on gatherings of more than 100 - thereby threatening lives of people.

Mutharika speaking in Thyolo on Monday when he joined the campaign trail for the fresh presidential elections due later this month accused the Judiciary that it was putting lives of Malawians at risk by stopping the lockdown while allowing them to go for a fresh presidential election amid the plague.

"Coronavirus is killing people in every country. This disease does not choose. Coronavirus can kill anyone at any time. That is what we are seeing everywhere," said Mutharika on a visit to Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must), where he appreciated the innovations made by the university students aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19.

High Court judge blocked the government from implementing a nationwide lockdown and the Chief Justice has since certified the matter to be reviewed in the Constitutional Court with not less than three judges.

"The problem we have in this country is that we are taking Coronavirus lightly," said Mutharika, adding "our fight against Coronavirus is being undermined by politics."

He continued: "The Courts stopped us from going on a lockdown. The same Courts want us to go to an election. Everybody knows that I won the 2019 election. If the Court had chosen to follow the law and evidence of the election case, we wouldn't be going to another election.

"Now, we have a situation that is encouraging everybody to campaign and undermining social distance. We are risking lives of innocent Malawians. With this election, we are risking lives of our children, our mothers, our fathers, our brothers and sisters.

"As President of this country, this is what I have to say. This country must choose between fighting Coronavirus and going to an election. We must choose between life and death. As a country, we must make that choice."

President Mutharika said the lockdown restrictions was aimed to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which has now infected 336 people in Malawi and killed four.

The Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 told the media in Lilongwe on Monday that 52 new Covid-19 cases have been recorded, bringing the number of infections in the country to 336. The number of recoveries remains at 42.

According to Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 co-chairperson Dr. John Phuka, on the cases, 42 are returnees from South Africa who passed through Mwanza, nine truck drivers and a man from Dedza who recently travelled to South Africa.

Phuka said the man from Dedza arrived in the country on May 11.

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