Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa who is also Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Vice President for the South has faulted government for the gazzetted new measures aimed at controlling the spread of Coronavirus in the country.

Among the measures, government has ordered mandatory wearing of face masks in public and banned public gatherings of groups of than 10 people.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Nankhumwa said the opposition is not in agreement with the new measures.

He said the opposition expected government to come up with short and medium term policy interventions to cushion people’s suffering before framing and gazzetting what he called the harsh and unrealistic Covid-19 measures.

“As opposition, we do not agree with the gazetted measures. Our expectation was that the Tonse Alliance government should have come up with short and medium term policy interventions to cushion people’s suffering before framing and gazetting the above harsh and unrealistic COVID-19 measures.

“We are all aware that prior to the fresh elections in June 2020, the previous DPP government attempted to impose a 21-day lockdown on the country as a measure to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus, which included travel restrictions across the country and a ban of public gatherings for groups of more than 100 people,” said Nankhumwa

He added: “The country erupted in arms against these measures, resulting in opposition-led mass demonstrations against the measures. Among the sticking points for the demonstrators that time was that Malawi is an informal economy with many people literally living from hand to mouth.
Those against lockdown argued that the government must first distribute money or other life essentials to the underprivileged and most vulnerable families in order to cushion against the effects of the lockdown and cover up for the lost time that people would spend staying in their homes as a result of the lockdown.

“It is our belief that the new measures are a clear demonstration of how hypocritical the new government is over the plight of Malawians. Based only on political expediency, President Chakwera vehemently opposed these similar measures his government is imposing on the people today.

“The new Tonse Alliance government has just imposed a partial lockdown, which is not substantially different from what the DPP imposed on the country in April this year, just five months ago. This time, there is mandatory wearing of face masks in public and a fine of MK10, 000 for not doing so. Church gatherings of more than 10 people have been banned and funerals should not gather more than 50 people with fines going up to MK100, 000 for non-compliance.”

Effort to talk to Minister of Information Gospel Kazako proved futile.

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