Malawi: Professor Kanyongolo Faults Chakwera's Disregard of Covid-19 Guidelines

12 August 2020

Renowned legal scholar Professor Edge Kanyongolo of University of Malawi at Chancellor College has faulted President Lazarus Chakwera for disregarding COVID-19 regulation of limiting funeral services to 50 people.

Chakwera attended the funeral of Mayi Dinala--one of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) longest serving member--and reports show that thousands of people also attended.

Writing on his Facebook post, the Chancellor College law professor underlined that 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," he said.

He added that the feeling by some--often encouraged and condoned by Presidents--is that they are above the law or immune from its reach is what gave this country the brood of miscreants who could drive on public roads without number plates, Cashgaters who felt entitled to dip into the public purse at will, Young Democrats who could assault citizens with impunity.

"If the Covid-19 Guidelines are applied selectively by this government, especially in favour of the political elite, it will vindicate the Marxist theory of law, whose central thesis 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," he wrote.

Kanyongolo also noted that it will be a troubling indicator of the beginning of the fraying of the edges of the fabric of the rule of law which is often the only fig leaf behind which we can safeguard our country's limited endowments.

"For a government which came into power on the strength of the principles of legality and constitutionalism, its disregard for the 'equality before the law' principle will be the supreme irony," he said.

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