Attorney General (AG) Kalekeni Kaphale says the Judiciary, which last Friday granted a seven-day injunction stopping implementation of a national lockdown to manage coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, holds the key to the future of the precautionary measure.
In an interview yesterday after the AG’s Chambers formally expressed its intention not to contest or vacate the injunction granted to Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), he said government already performed its duty by announcing the lockdown.
Said Kaphale: “The hearing [today] is a defining moment in the fight against the virus. We believe all the information needed to make the right decision is in the public domain. The virus is not out there playing games.”
He said currently government has nothing to do but wait from the courts because it already announced a lockdown from midnight April 18 to midnight May 9 and published the rules for the same before HRDC, Church and Society Programme of CCAP Livingstonia Synod, legislator Kezzie Msukwa and a Kathumba obtained the court order.
On whether government’s decision to withdraw from the case emanates from observations by the Malawi Law Society that there were some legal irregularities in the implementation of some Covid-19 measures, the AG said he was not in a position to comment on the observations because they have come after the injunction.
In a separate interview, presidential press secretary Mgeme Kalilani said the future of the lockdown lies in the hands of the Judiciary which needs to rule to help Malawians.
He said neither the President nor government is abrogating its responsibility as it was stopped by the courts and HRDC from discharging its duty and responsibility.
HRDC national chairperson Gift Trapence refused to comment on the matter, saying it is in court.
The court will proceed to hear the matter today, according to the Judiciary.