Malawi: Chao in Lilongwe Over Covid-19 Preventive Measures

22 January 2021

Business came to a standstill at Lilongwe's Old Town as people protested against the police heavy handedness in enforcing the Covid-19 strict preventive measures.

The police were seen whipping people who were not putting on face masks instead of arresting them.

This led to chaos, forcing minibus operators to withdraw their services.

Later, calm returned at the most congested area in the city.

This morning, minibus operators have withdrawn their services in Lilongwe's populous area of Area 25 in protest against the strict preventive measures.

They say they are not making profits with the new rule that minibuses should carry only two passengers per seat.

Usually, passengers are packed like sardines with four passengers on each seat.

People were seen seeking alternative mode of transport to town.

Meanwhile, the Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has condemned the Malawi Police Service for using force in enforcing Covid-19 containment measures.

MHRC executive secretary Habiba Osman said in a statement that citizens should take heed of the preventive measures and also highlighted the need for police officers to refrain from using excessive force against individuals who she said are supposed to enjoy their right to health.

The statement further recommends that government should put measures in place to ensure people are enjoying their right to health in the face of the new wave of Covid-19.

Reads the statement in part: "This is a call to personal responsibility... While Covid-19 deserves some special attention, government should put in place mechanisms to ensure that the right to health is fully enjoyed."

But National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said in the police officers are just executing their mandate to enforce the regulations.

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