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Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera is the current President of Malawi. He was sworn into office on June 28, 2020 at Malawi Square, Bingu International Convention Centre, Lilongwe.

Before joining frontline politics, Chakwera was President of the Malawi Assemblies of God from 1989 until he resigned on May 14, 2013 to contest in the 2014 General Elections as a presidential candidate for the Malawi Congress party.

That presidential election was marred by irregularities forcing the Electoral Commission to petition the High Court for permission to conduct a manual audit of the ballots.

Though Chakwera was supportive of the audit, his rival, Arthur Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party   took an injunction to stop it forcing the Commission to announce the results. Mutharika was declared winner by 8.6 percent margin.

Following the declaration, Chakwera announced that he would not challenge the results to give Mutharika a chance to prove himself in the highest office. In the meantime, Chakwera won a parliamentary seat and became the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly. 

He served as Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly until February 2019 when he submitted his nomination papers to the Electoral Commission for the second time to run for presidential election in the May 21, 2019 elections.

The elections were highly contested and marred by irregularities. The Commission used widespread correction fluid on results sheets. Despite complaints and accusations about the irregularities, the Commission declared Mutharika winner by a margin of 3.1 percent.

However, on the day that Mutharika was inaugurated for a second term, Chakwera announced his decision to challenge the election result. He and State Vice President Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima filed a petition to the Constitutional Court demanding a fresh presidential election.

After a six-month hearing, the five-judge panel of the court unanimously nullified the 2019 presidential election on account of “massive, serious, and widespread irregularities” that violated multiple provisions of the Constitution and laws governing elections.


The court ordered that a fresh poll be held within 150 days of the ruling, but President Mutharika appealed the judgment to the Supreme Court, which unanimously upheld the decision of the lower court.

At the end of the fresh the election which took place on June 23, 2020, under the oversight of a newly constituted Electoral Commission, Chakwera won with 58.57 percent of the vote.

 

Chakwera was born in the rural outskirts of Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi on April 5, 1955 to Earnest Person Chakwera and Mallen Mwale, who were subsistence farmers. Their home was typical rural, without electricity or running water or privileges of any kind. Their poor surroundings exposed the children to sickness so regularly that two of Chakwera’s brothers born before him died in infancy.

His father named him Lazarus to express his faith that he would defy the odds and live long as the Bible character who was raised from the dead. He has a sister and a brother.

Chakwera is married to Monica and together they have four children and 12 grandchildren. In 1977, the year they were married, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy) Degree from the University of Malawi. He got his honours degree from the University of the North, Sovenga, South Africa. In 1991, he got his masters from the University of South Africa.

The Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois, USA awarded him a doctorate in 2000. The Pan Africa Theological Seminary awarded him Professorship in 2005.


He has served in a number of roles of executive leadership both in Malawi and internationally: He was Chairman of the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) 1997-2014; Board Chairman for All Nations Theological Seminary 2008-2013; Board Member of the Global University, Springfield, Missouri, USA, 1999 – 2005.


He was also Board Chairman of the Pan Africa Theological Seminary (PATHS) 2004 – 2014; Chairman of Assoc. of Pentecostal Theological Education in Africa (APTEA) - 2011-2014; President of Africa Assemblies of God Alliance (2004-2013); Secretary of World Assemblies of God Fellowship (2005-2017); co-chair of the Facilitation Team created to resolve the Budget and Section 65 Parliamentary impasse between Cabinet and Opposition in 2008; Chairman of Malawi’s Petroleum Control Commission and the National Council for Sports. 


President Chakwera has promised to govern by a set of five principles that he calls The Chakwera SUPER HI-5, which highlight the five policy focus areas that will be high on his gubernatorial agenda: Servant Leadership; Uniting Malawi; Prospering Together; Ending Corruption; Rule of Law. These priorities may be summed up as follows: 

  • Servant Leadership: A promise to restructure the Presidency and the Civil Service both practically and constitutionally to be defined by quality service and results, not power and privilege. 
  • Uniting Malawi: A promise to unify Malawians by meeting the Opposition quarterly, facilitating the celebration of all tribes, and depoliticizing traditional chieftaincies.
  • Prospering Together: A promise to build infrastructure in all regions of Malawi, to create one million jobs for youth within a year, increase the minimum wage, waive income tax for everyone earning less than K100,000, provide capital to one million women to start their own businesses, reduce the cost of fertilizer to K4,495 and to increase food production
  • Ending Corruption: A promise to create special courts to deal with corruption, establish an anti-corruption office in each government department, toughen anti-corruption laws, and empower the Anti-Corruption Bureau with resources.
  • Rule of Law: A promise to report to Parliament for questioning as required by law, a promise to resource law-enforcement agencies to enforce the law, and a promise to respect the judgments of the courts.

President Chakwera has challenged Malawians that fulfilling these promises will be the best way of “Building A New Malawi Enjoyed by All” (Kumanga Malawi Watsopano Okomela Tonse), a phrase he has used extensively as his rallying campaign slogan, from whose last word was derived the name “Tonse Alliance”, the nine-party coalition he led to victory in the 2020 Fresh Presidential Election to become the sixth President of the Republic of Malawi.

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Lilongwe, June 11: Life is no longer the same, the much touch year, 2020 and sprung an outbreak that the world did not anticipate both in terms of its magnitude and the impact it will have on what is generally accepted as normal lifestyle. 

For instance, a handshake greeting is the order of the day in almost all cultures worldwide, but that is gone.

Coronavirus known as Covid-19 has brought in an element probably never heard of before, social distance in which individuals are supposed to be at least a metre apart. 

In Malawi, the disease outbreak has come at a crucial time in the country's history as preparations for a fresh Presidential election are at a crucial point.

As a matter of keeping up with preventative regulations from the World Health Organisation (WHO), government issued its own guidelines to control the spread of the virus.

Through a Special Cabinet Committee now known as a Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, government ordered non-essential staff to work from home, closed down Churches, banned gatherings of more than 100 people, reduced capacity of public transport and stressed the importance to observe social distancing. 

To a certain extent, the measures have been followed with for example, Churches migrating to digital platforms to reach out to the congregation and government employees working in shifts to reduce crowding in workplaces.

But now that the campaign season is in full swing, what happens to the measures government imposed to combat Covid-19? 

When people flooded the streets of Blantyre on May 6,2020 as Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and his running mate Dr. Saulos Chilima of the Tonse Alliance presented their nomination papers to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC), Minister of Health Jappie Mhango who was at the time giving his daily updates on the pandemic described what happened as childish.

A day later, it was the turn of the ruling party and it was a similar story, government had defied its own measures, no social distancing and crowds flooding the city of Blantyre. 

A head of the Tonse Alliance first campaign rally in Mzuzu on May 10, 2020 Malawi Congress Party Strategist, Dr Ken Zikhale Ng'oma told Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS) that 'electing a President was a priority and Covid-19 would be dealt with accordingly after the elections.

A few weeks later, Dr. Chilima told masses at a rally in Lilongwe that they should not be afraid to hug anyone wearing any of the party colours in the alliance. 

He criticised government's handling the pandemic such as repatriation of Malawians from South African who have contributed to the majority of the cases.

One contentious aspect as argued by Chilima and others that there was low death rate from the pandemic.

To date, 455 people have been found positive and with four confirmed deaths with underlined conditions.

Speaking at a rally in Zomba, the Vice President suggested that it was possible that God had spared the country from the pandemic questioning why only four people had died since the first case was confirmed in April, 2020 when the death rate was so high in other countries exceeding 400,000 according to the WHO.

A few days later, Former President Dr. Joyce Banda addressing a Tonse Alliance rally in Nkhata-Bay said Malawi has no Covid-19.
“So far Malawi has been spared from Covid-19, I urge government to use the funds it got from international financial institutions to expedite development projects in the country,” she suggested.

Making his State of the Nation Address to parliament via video link, as a preventive measure against the pandemic, President Prof. Peter Mutharika warned that 'we must be ready for the worst.'

"It is a very serious problem. If we are not careful, we will suffer far worse and long-term consequences than we have already suffered and no one will be spared," he said. 

But his words and actions do not speak to each other. The President recently went on a campaign trail in his home district of Thyolo, defying the precautionary measures imposed by his own government. 

Speaking to masses at Bvumbwe Trading Centre, Mutharika warned the public that Coronavirus was real and advised them to follow the necessary precautions. 

On that campaign tour, the President and the First Lady did not wear face masks but the microphone he used was constantly sanitized.

In contrast, Co-Chair of Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, Dr. John Phuka has continuously stressed the need to engage political leaders on balancing between two important aspects of Presidential election campaign and the pandemic. 

"The Taskforce continues to condemn political rallies, continues to promote social and physical distancing. We are encouraging the nation to go towards procedures that support social and physical distancing. 

"We are constantly engaging with the politicians, we know that politics is important especially with the elections ahead, but we need to come up with innovations of communicating in a different way that does not put the society at risk," Phuka told Malawi News Agency (Mana). 

But the engagement as suggested by Phuka does not seem to be achieving anything at all, in as far political rallies are concerned, it remains business as usual.

Apart from the party affiliates gathering for such rallies, there are some who have no choice but avail themselves to work in such an environment. 

Take Mana Photojournalist, Govati Nyirenda as an example, he has covered a number of rallies during this Covid-19 pandemic despite the risk that comes with it.

Nyirenda said it was impossible to completely follow all the precautionary measures in such an environment. 

"As much as I tried to be cautious but sometimes I was carried away with events. Of course, I was wearing a mask throughout but social distance could not observe completely," he admitted. 

With the polling day drawing closer, the number of Covid-19 cases continue to rise rapidly with most of them being imported cases.

With doubts deeply instilled in the public about the authenticity of Covid-19 cases, life will remain as normal, and it’s up to an individual’s own discretion to follow the necessary preventative measures.

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Blantyre, June 2, Mana: Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) has said its scheduled online learning and the newly launched emergency radio education programme (EREP) will continue beyond school reopening.

All schools remain closed indefinitely after government directive on March 20, 2020 this yearin light of the corona virus (Covid-19) global pandemic that at the moment has infected 336 people with four fatalities.

The development forced the education ministry to introduce online learning with the aim of keeping in shape learners that are momentarily at home pending a decision from the National Planning Task Force team on whether schools should open doors soon or not.

 

“On online learning and radio lessons will go on. In addition, the ministry will soon start distributing printed learning materials to learners that cannot access both online and radio programmes,” Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Dr. William Susuwele Banda told Malawi News Agency (Mana) in an interview recently on the sidelines of the launch of EREP in Blantyre.

 

EREP is a new MoEST initiative that will, among others, see educational programmes being aired to school learners through Malawi Broadcasting Corporation’s radios 1 and 2 as the country awaits reopening of schools.

 

“We should expect that the committee will recommend to the ministry on what to put in place in order to open schools,” Susuwele Banda said in response to a question on whether schools will open anytime soon amid Covid-19 increasing cases.

 

Since schools closed, many school going children, especially those in high density areas, risk contracting the virus, according to experts.

Some parents have been expressing worry over continued closure of schools especially for the girl-child who they say may get early pregnancies due to their idleness at home.

One of the concerned parents, Gladys Nkhoma, 35 from Nancholi in Blantyre expressed worry with government for not allowing children to go back to school, especially those who are in national examination classes like Standard 8 and Form 4 while some politicians are on the ground not observing social distance contrary to what health experts advocate for.

Nkhoma said if the children continue staying at home, chances of forgetting what they have been learning in class are very high.

She added: “As a parent, I try my best to assist my child but I know it is not all parents who may have the time to assist their children with school work.”

Both teachers from Chilaweni Community Day Secondary School in Blantyre, Faith Chapweteka and Mlodza Primary School in Lilongwe Urban, Mercy Alinafe Ndalama, in separate interviews equally expressed worry that they feel like they are living life without direction.

“This closure of schools is different from that of having a holiday. When it is holiday days I’m full of hope, knowing that am going to work on such a day. This time we are hopeless,” said Chapweteka.

On her part Ndalama said the closure has affected them in terms of teaching mood, saying: “I have lost the teaching momentum since I have stayed for a long time without teaching.”

Ndalama said when learners are writing exams teachers always plan how to handle them in the next term by looking at their previous performance of which this has not happened since end-of-term exams were interrupted.

“It will be very hard to know where to start from because we did not finish administering the exams,” she said.

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Mzuzu, June 2, Mana: A good road network is a catalyst for economic development as it reduces distance between communities and service providers.

This is no exception for people using the 80kilometre road that runs from Njakwa at Chipokababoli Bridge to the historical Livingstonia Mission up the escarpment to Chitimba.

That’s why government embarked on a construction project on the road which has seen people in these areas beaming with excitement as they look forward to its completion.

A visit to the project site by Malawi News Agency (Mana) to appreciate progress of the Njakwa-Livingstonia Road project found a road which used to be narrow, in widen sate.

The road is graveled up to the Phoka Court where we meet a lone motorcyclist, Kondwani Chisambo, who is among the group of people cashing in by carrying passengers. 

“It used to be hard task to travel through this road. The road has been tarred up to Kaziwiziwi on several stretches between Livingstonia and Kaziwiziwi. It is our wish that these stretches are linked up.

“Nonetheless, there is positive impact in the sense that we are able to travel to various destinations within a short period of time,” he said.

Chisamba added that there was need for the contractor to expedite work on the stretches that remains undone for businesses to flourish in the area.

A farmer, Emmanuel Nkunguli from the Phoka noted that the project has created jobs for many who only relied on seasonal crops for cash.

“Most of us youth who could potentially involve ourselves in criminal activities are now employed. We are able to give something to our elders in the village,” he echoed.

Business lady, Salome Harawa added that the area has been opened up that business was booming with some shop owners who confined themselves in busy trading centers opening up business enterprises on the mountain.

“We have a weekly market day where mobile businesspersons come here to sale or order various merchandise. It used to take us two days of travelling as there were no vehicles. This is history as today we are able to go to Phwezi, Rumphi and Mzuzu and return the same day without hassles.

“The Motor bikes are now picking us up right on our door steps which was not the case before. Those that are living in areas like Mphompha, Chakaka, and Vunguvungu are travelling smoothly. Even students at Livingstonia institutions are now not feeling the burden of travel, “she said. 
 
Traditional Authority (TA) Kachulu was over the moon with the current progress the works are shaping up.

“There is remarkable progress that has been made. People and vehicles are moving freely even in the areas that were difficult even at this time of the year. Nobody should cheat you. We are seeing how things are moving,” he explained.

The road leads to a historical place harboring institutions like Gordon Memorial Hospital and Livingstonia University Laws Campus which is the headquarters of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia.

University of Livingstonia (Unilia) Vice Chancellor, Dr Timothy Nyasulu hailed government for the construction of the road.

He said the road which leads to the Livingstonia University’s main campus at Khondowe was critical since it gives access to one of the most important places in the country.

“I need to thank government for bankrolling the construction of this road which to us has been a very long standing challenge,”

“We were finding it extremely difficult to go up to the main campus because the road there is in a very bad condition. The new road will provide a huge relief to the university,” said Nyasulu.

Roads Authority (RA) Spokesperson, Portia Kajanga said the contractor has completed 21 kilometre of the 75 kilometre saying the rest of the road is being worked on at different levels.

She said “Initially, the project was supposed to be completed in May, 2020 but it will not be completed on the said date.”

Kajanga said the new completion date was still being discussed and it might be around September, 2020.

Mota-Engil is the contractor working on the project and it says the work on the road is in progress and hopes to complete soon.

Mota-Engil Public Relations Officer (PRO), Thomas Chafunya said the work on the site has been demarcated in several sections.

He said the May 2020 deadline has been missed due to rains and demonstrations that called for resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission commissioners over alleged mismanagement of 2019 Presidential Elections.

Considering that a robust transport network was crucial to the development in the country,  President Prof. Peter Mutharika in March 2018 launched a revolutionary infrastructure development Plan (NTMP) aimed at guiding the development of the transport sector in road, ships and airports to be implemented from 2017-2037.

The National Transport Master Plan is a comprehensive blue print for developing the road and the rail network, the inland water transport and the civil aviation and urban transport in the country.

The Master plan which was developed with funding from the World Bank provides a framework for delivering sustainable interventions on multiple-mode transport network across the country.

Mutharika said during the launch at BICC that a robust transport network was key to the development of the country saying government would make improvements in all modes of transportation in order to bring in efficiencies that will translate into reduced transport costs.

Again government embarked on construction and rehabilitation of both rural and urban roads country wide and in the north some of the roads include, Nkhata bay road, Karonga-Songwe, Jenda–Edingeni and Bolero-Nyika-Roads

The Njakwa-Livingstonia-Chitimba road once completed will boost the tourism as the area hosts a tourist attraction the Mantchewe Falls where there was a hydro power generator that supplied electricity at the mission.

The agricultural sector is likely to thrive as the area the road is passing through is renowned for growing maize, bananas, vegetables, beans, soya beans, potatoes, beans, cassava, tobacco and coffee among others.

There is glimmer of hope among many that the agro sector will get further boost with the completion of the road that Mota-Engil is constructing in Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with the government.  

As a good road network is vital for socio-economic growth of the country as it enables people to transport their agricultural produce, access social amenities, Njakwa- Livingstonia-Chitimba Road will transform socio-economic status of the communities thereby contributing to national economic growth.

The road’s component branches to Phwezi where it will pass through economic zones in the region such as Kaziwiziwi Coal Fields.

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PRESS STATEMENT

For Immediate Release 26th May, 2020


LET THIS CAMPAIGN BE ISSUE BASED


Government has noted with concern the direction the presidential election campaign has taken, especially regarding attacks on personalities.


It is important that politicians that aspire leadership must demonstrate an understanding of state management. Those who do so would have a lot of issues to talk about during campaign. Attacking personalities signifies lack of understanding of issues of national importance.


In addition, Government would like to remind radio and television stations that they have an obligation to avoid broadcasting indecent, insulting and offensive content during this election campaign.

It is important that broadcasters should abide by the Communications Act, Broadcasting Regulations, Licence Conditions and Media Code of Conduct on Reporting Elections.


Finally, Government would like to appeal to electoral stakeholders with oversight functions such as Public Affairs Committee (PAC), Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP), Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC), Consumer Association of Malawi (CAMA) and others to monitor, evaluate and advise politicians against indecent, insulting and offensive speech during the campaign.


Government would like to assure the general public of peace before, during and after elections. Government agents are working round the clock to maintain peace, law and order.


Mark Michael Botomani, M.P.

MINISTER OF INFORMATION, CIVIC EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY

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Lilongwe, May 26, 2020:In the middle of Kakungu community lays a blossoming small forest of acacias trees.


During dry season, the young forest stands as an island of green on a sea of brown.


It was planted in 2014, as one of the ways of addressing the impacts of climate change that the community was grappling with.


With any random walk through the village, you see numerous of these trees spread around the area.  


You see them in the backyard of houses, along the pathways, or standing as boundaries for fields.


They are in varying sizes, the trees. Some already flowering, others, just beginning to take shape.


The shade underneath the forest is enticing. One is easily tempted by the prospects of fresh breezes in the midst of the scorching sun.


After all, aside from the forest and the other acacias trees spread around the area, the village does not offer a great deal of other trees.


The confessions of the people here speak of an even bleak situation five years ago. They say there was no shade to hide under when the sun screamed.


They talk of the amount of time and energy women and girls spent sourcing firewood from far-away places, and how this affected other aspect of their livelihoods.


When Plan International Malawi came, they realized that the numerous factors that affected their agricultural productivity were being exacerbated lack of trees in the area.
As we sit under one of the trees in the small forest savoring at the fresh air, Arnold Njolomole takes us through his hindsight.


He said he was able to make sense of the ordeals that the community faced before they started planting trees.


He explained as to why he and other members of the community got encouraged to start the initiative.


Njolomole pointed out that they were made to realize that re-afforestation could help address the impacts of climate change that the area was facing, which negatively affected their agricultural productivity.


According to him, farming was the core of the livelihood of the people and it gets affected, it triggers a slippery slope that affects almost all aspects of their lives.


Children fail to go to school because due food shortage and the family cannot afford other necessities. Girls become worst casualties as they become more vulnerable to pregnancies, forced and early marriages.


“We were facing a lot of problems emanating from climate change. For instance, soil erosion was rampant. Every time rain came, it carried with it the soil from up here and deposited it in Mbabvi River, affecting its ability to conserve water,” Njolomole said.


As he takes us back to 2014, he said that it was the community’s initiative to engage Plan International for support, after resolving to embark on afforestation as a solution to the challenges. The organization duly supported the community with skills and necessary materials such as seeds and polythene tubes.


“We noted that these impacts were affecting our livelihoods in many ways. As a community, we decided to try afforestation as a way of conserving the environment as a solution to these problems. We then approached Plan International for support,” Njolomole said.


Forestry Extension Worker for the area, Smart Kampango said together with other initiatives, the community’s efforts to conserve the environment are already reaping results.
The other initiatives include those aimed at discouraging people from cutting trees for charcoal burning and firewood.


“Apart from this forest that is owned by the whole community, every individual in here takes the initiative to plant trees around their houses and fields. There are more trees in this area now as compared to 2014. As a result, the area has already stopped experiencing some of the problems it used to face, such as soil erosion,” he said.


The community’s initiative to plant trees is part of the Strengthening Resilience to Climate Change project that Plan International Malawi implemented in the area between 2014 and 2019. The project was aimed at supporting the people of Kakungu to be resilient to the effects of climate change and natural disasters, as a way of improving their livelihoods.


The Project’s Manager at Plan International Malawi, Billy Mukwikwi said his organization decided to support the initiative as a way of empowering the community to be resilient to the effects of climate change.


“We noticed how Climate Change has heavily affected the micro-climate and environment of the area, which affected various elements of livelihood for the people including crop productivity,” he noted.


Mukwikwi said that, “When we analyzed the situation, we found that most of the problems the area faced were due to the fact that more trees were cut to burn charcoal or use as firewood. As a result, there were frequent soil erosions and run-offs, which heavily degraded the soil. There was an increase in pests and disease infestation due to rising temperatures,”


The first phase of the project may have ended in 2019, but its impacts are set to remain imprinted on the area for a long time.


Kakungu community has managed to plant 49,000 trees. Now, there is no shortage of shade where people can rest and enjoy some fresh air. The trees now give the village a new look.


Some members of the community say they are already able to get some firewood from the trees.


Women are now diverting to other productive endeavors the time and energy they used in going long distances searching for firewood. Others are able to sell some of it to raise money for their households.


Girls are not failing to attend school because their parents cannot afford to provide them with sanitary materials.

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Blantyre, May 22,2020: It was exactly 8:00 a.m. in the mountainous area of Group Village Head (GVH) Pensulo under Senior Chief Kuntaja.
Located South-West of Sanjika Palace, 10 kilometres from Blantyre’s Central Business District, Chikondi Phiri (not his real name) knows no other place than this where he was born 15 years ago.

Chikondi has always harboured an ambition to don a military uniform and has worked tirelessly in class to push that dream to reality.

The first born in a family of four children, Chikondi has always been exemplary to his siblings but now feels like his destiny is slowly being shattered.

Three months ago, at sunrise, the Form Three Mitsidi Community Day Secondary School student, would wake up, sweep his parents’ surroundings and by 7:30 a.m.; would already be in class.

However, since schools closed indefinitely due to Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on March 20, 2020 Chikondi has now turned to gambling, claiming that he feels he can make easy money while awaiting schools to re-open.

“I, together with my schoolmates now spend the whole day at the market, doing gambling. Sometimes I even go to the market without taking a bath because I want cart home more money,” he disclosed.

“I go home around 6 p.m. with about K10, 000 per day. I use the money to buy personal things like clothes,” he added, saying, “I can’t tell you how I raised the money to start gambling but you can rest assured that I didn’t steal. My parents know that if I’m not home, then I’m here; there is nothing they can do about it.”

One of Chikondi’s female classmates, who happens to be a leader of the group admits that the game was both illicit and immoral but challenges that she was not afraid of anyone because gambling has become part of her routine.

“Yes, the game is addictive but the school closure is indefinite; so, we are not certain when classes resume. My parents are now tired of reprimanding me. I know that I might not concentrate when schools open again and I fear for my future. Money is sweet you know?” she brags, without a shade of regret.

GVH Pensulo said she was baffled that this was happening right in her village. She assures to take necessary action against parents of such children.

“I cannot believe that this is happening in my village, I will certainly get to the bottom of the matter. Firstly, I will find out who the children are and their families and take their parents to task. Gambling is illegal.  

“In fact, the kids are under age to indulge in such activities. This cannot be tolerated in my area; I will put a stop to it,” Pensulo charged.

She pointed out that, “We are in a crisis; the children should have taken advantage of the situation to improve on their academic performance. They were supposed to be preoccupied with important things; they need to be doing revisions with friends so that when schools open, they should find it easy to adapt.”  

When news of Covid-19 first broke out in Wuhan City, China, the whole world was shaken and as the pandemic continues to spread, many countries with big economies such as Italy and the Unites States of America struggled to contain it, posing a big threat to Africa as it already has a frail health system.

African nations came up with distinguished strategies to ensure the pandemic is effectively contained.

In reaction, President Prof. Peter Mutharika in March declared Covid-19 a National Disaster as a containment measure to avert further spread of the virus in the country.

Mutharika, among others, ordered an immediate closure of learning institutions, both public and private. Moreover, government restricted gatherings of not more than 100 people during social events like weddings and funerals.

Blantyre District Health Promotion Officer, Chrissy Banda said the malpractice is defeating the whole purpose of controlling the disease as the children do not observe social distancing when gambling.

She observed that since the disease could be transmitted to another person in less than a metre long distance, the children have a greater chance of contracting the virus.

“We will continue with community sensitization activities to ensure that people don’t take the disease lightly. Covid-19 is real and its right in the country. If we are not careful, it will spread and reach a point where we shall regret our negligence,” Banda cautioned.

Blantyre District Social Welfare Officer, Stephano Joseph noted that the sector has already started investigating the matter to ensure children are protected from the malpractice.

“My office and that of the District Education Manager have already gone to the area for an investigation. The problem is that children corners and community based child care centres have since been closed in a bid to stop further spread of the pandemic.

“Most parents do not have parenting skills and with the closure of schools; they are finding it difficult to raise their children. My plea is that they must take full responsibility of their children. Such behaviours have a long lasting effect on children and if we are not careful, there will be massive dropouts once schools reopen,” he remarked.

Joseph added there was need for child-friendly messages to effectively fight Covid-19.

He says the social welfare was working with SOS Village Home to sensitise parents so that they take good care of their children during the open-ended holiday to make sure that their rights were protected from any abuse.

Weighing on the matter, SOS Children’s Village Programme Director, Loyce Mkuzi said there was need for concerted efforts by parents and local child protection committees to discourage children from indulging in the malpractice.

“Gambling is illegal; hence, not tolerated. To mitigate the problem, parents need to take an active role in their parenting by keeping children busy at home like supervising their home studies, giving age appropriate household chores and monitoring that the children do stay at home or their activities outside the home be closely monitored,” she suggested.

Mkuzi urged local leaders and community policing structures to monitor all places that are used for this illegal activity and take the necessary action.

According to recent report from Malawi Gaming and Lotteries Board which is guided by the Gaming Act of 1996, gambling should be for leisure and entertainment, as such, children are prohibited from participating.

The body is responsible for regulating the industry and issuing licenses to prospective gambling establishments.

“Although the problem of gambling has not been a major concern, it is reasonable to assume that as the gaming industry grows, it brings about both good and negative implications.

“The gaming law clearly prohibits participation of children in gambling. Equally, the remaining part of our society requires protection against irresponsible gambling,” the report stated.

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Lilongwe, May 11, 2020:In Mchinji District, about 100 kilometres west of Lilongwe City, lies a 56-acre farm flourishing with a diversity of crops, trees, fruits and vegetables.

The farm, known as Permaculture Paradise Institute, is a wonder and refuge to many people. Over 200 types of food crops, both indigenous and exotic, suitable to the conditions of the area, are grown on the farm.

Many people from all walks of life within and outside the country visit the farm to both admire and learn the farming practices or buy the farm produce.

“We use traditional farming methods; local seeds and local everything to address local problems,” says Luwayo Biswick, the farm’s manager.

Even the source of energy used at the farm is strictly ecofriendly. The farm has a biogas digester which processes human wastes into energy for various uses.

Water is tapped from the surrounding mountains through gravity into a swimming pool at his house. From the swimming pool, the water flows into the farmyard to irrigate various crops grown throughout the year.

“Things are done the local way here. We use local resources to address local challenges,” says Biswick, who was the 2019 Climate Change Champion nominee of the European Union Delegation to Malawi.

Born in a poor family of mere peasants, life was not easy for him, he says.

Against such a background, Biswick thought permaculture could be the solution to his poverty.

Today, he is satisfied that his dream has perfectly come true to the effect that he has even become a model to people from surrounding areas and beyond who benefit from the farm in various ways.

His Facebook post on 11 November 2019 shows pictures of farmers with seed packs in their hands.

Its caption reads: “This morning we gave free seeds to lead farmers of GVH [Group Village Head] Mphepo in Mchinji. We do our farming to attract those in need.

“We are here to serve people with what is from Malawi; giving it back to the people of Malawi.”

Another post of 14 December 2019 reads: “Today was another big day; we had 70 students from Golden Gate Memorial School of Lilongwe and a team from Zambia. We fed over 80 people today, all from the farm.”

The word permaculture was coined in 1981 by an Australian researcher Bill Mollison. It consists of two words, permanent and agriculture; a deliberate fusion that seeks to communicate its core idea—permanent agriculture.

This is the type of agriculture that advocates for the growing of crops throughout the year regardless of prevailing weather pattern, by using simple land designing techniques.

“With permaculture there is never a time when there’s nothing in the field because our model and example to act by is the natural ecosystems because in nature you will find trees growing any time of the year.

“And you see one funny thing is that, as we are getting into the hottest months of the year that’s when nature produces new leaves with no water,” Biswick explains.

He says most households go hungry every year because they largely depend on rain-fed agriculture

“If you are doing conventional farming, it’s not permanent because you plant maize today, harvest it and leave the farm fallow or dormant.

“This is why we have a lot of people going to bed on an empty stomach in January and February because their harvested maize is not enough,” he says.

Malawi is vulnerable to the effects of climate change because of its reliance on rain-fed agriculture in that extreme weather conditions such as drought and floods have resulted in poor crop yields or total crop failure.


The situation has led to serious food shortages, hunger and malnutrition.

However, Biswick argues that permaculture could solve nutrition and hunger problems because it encourages the growing of a diversity of crops at low cost.

“Come floods, you have crops washed away by the floods and you still have a lot of other crops withstanding the floods.

“Similarly, in times of drought, crops that need a lot of water die but you still have other drought tolerant crops surviving,” says Biswick who grows cassava, rice, maize, edible flowers and fruits, among others.

He explains that his farm’s achievements can be replicated at national level if there can be deliberate policies to promote permaculture.

“Our agricultural policies are so much focused on the promotion of synthetic chemicals and fertilisers.

“This is contributing a lot to land degradation, poverty, famine, droughts, and climate change because we are using resources that are not natural to grow food,” Biswick says.

The Malawi National Nutrition Policy of 2016 promotes dietary diversification and the use of a variety of indigenous foods to achieve the six food groups and fight malnutrition.

Biswick further explains that popularisation of organic farming is important for a healthy nation because foods produced with the aid of chemicals and fertilisers are hazardous.

 “Think of the broiler chickens; think of the chemical-sprayed vegetables which some people consume raw as salad. It’s like committing suicide,” he says.

Biswick says farmers ought to be encouraged to use compost manure and natural methods of pest and disease control.

But what does it take for someone to be a successful permaculturist?

Biswick’s farm is centered on the principle of mixed cropping as opposed to mono-cropping.

“This organic farming is not new; it’s something that has been practiced for ages by our ancestors.

“Our parents could do shifting cultivation, crop rotation, and mixed cropping. So one does not necessarily need to go to a formal school,” he says.

Written by

Blantyre, May 5: Like a sword piercing through the heart, Fanny Moses received news of the first three confirmed Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the country through her battery-powered pocket radio.

The shocking news did not only catch her attention but it created anxiety and trauma in her life and that of her siblings.

At the age of 69, Moses, who lives in one of the suburbs seven kilometres from the commercial capital, Blantyre, feared that her life was next on the line due to the diminishing immunity associated with people of her age.

“I am old,” she says while seated on dusty veranda of her house in Chilobwe Township.

Moses added, “My immunity is weak and Covid-19 is a contagious and killer disease. I feel my life is at risk of contracting the virus and that I may die.”

The frail bodied elderly who stays with a widowed daughter and four orphaned grandchildren harbours fear in her heart that was compounded by lack of encouragement and knowledge on preventive measures to keep out Coronavirus from entering to her homestead.

Moses’ situation exemplifies the psychological shocks that many people including the elderly experience in the wake of Covid-19, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on March 12, 2020.

President Prof. Peter Mutharika, on his part, declared the country as State of Disaster on March 20, 2020 due to the pandemic.  

Moses is one of the 800, 000 elderly persons in the country that are susceptible to Covid-19 and the figure is against world elderly population standing at around 703 million persons aged 65 years and above, according to a United Nations publication World Population Ageing 2019: Highlights report.

According to the WHO, Covid-19 is impacting the global population in drastic ways with older people bearing the brunt of its threats and challenges.

In its April 3, 2020 publication on its website, the WHO observes that although all age groups are at risk of contracting virus, older people like Moses face significant risk of developing severe illness if they contract the disease due to physiological changes that come with ageing and potential underlying health conditions.

WHO says over 95 per cent deaths resulting from Covid-19 occur in those older than 60 and that more than 50 per cent of all fatalities involved people aged 80 or older.

The elderly like Moses, among others, the World health body says, are more susceptible to the pandemic due to their compromised immunity.   

WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge said older people and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and cancer likely develop serious illness due to physiological changes associated with ageing coupled with decreased immune function and multi morbidity.         

Kluge’s sentiments are anchored by the study done by Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) released on February 11, 2020 and published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology which shows that the number of deaths among infected people in China, remains low but rises among the elderly.

“We looked at more than 44,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in China as of February 11, 2020.

The study classified 80.9 per cent of infections as mild, 13.8 per cent as severe and only 4.7 per cent as critical. The fatality rate remains low but was among those over 80 years old,” the study stated.

The centre’s statistics justify Moses’ fear of the disease, which she attributed to satanic practices.

“All I know is that the disease has been initiated by people who practice Satanism. Their aim is for us to perish,” Moses, currently living in a two-bed roomed house, constructed with unbaked bricks, reaffirms.

In the Covid-19 situation update, the Ministry of Health indicates that as of May 3, 2020, 39 Coronavirus cases, seven recoveries and three fatalities had been recorded in the country.

District Medical Officer (DMO) for Blantyre, Dr. Zaziwe Gundah pointed out that people should not worry because the disease was preventable and treatable only if they practice hygienic standards and those infected follow medical advice.

“Chances are very high that an infected person can recover fully and engage in productive activities once again,” he added.

Gundah encourages various partners in the health sector to continue disseminating awareness messages of the pandemic across to ensure that people observe all precautionary measures to safeguard themselves and older people from catching the virus.

One of such partners is Beautify Malawi (BEAM) Trust that is on a nationwide campaign to sensitize people on the need to wash hands with soap regularly and observe physical or social distancing as some of the measures to avert the disease.

Special Advisor on Health to the country’s First Lady, Pro. Gertrude Mutharika, Emma Mabvumbe said BEAM has so far reached out to almost all districts of the country with precaution and preventive awareness messages on Covid-19 besides distributing hand washing materials and soap to people including the elderly.

A nurse working with Malawi Network of Older People (MANEPO), Hilda Soko commended BEAM for complementing efforts by government and MANEPO in providing information to the elderly on the deadly Covid-19 which is caused by Coronavirus.

She said MANEPO was aware that older people are vulnerable to Coronavirus and that the organization has embarked on a series of trainings including door-to-door outreach initiative on Covid-19 to prepare the elderly socially, physically as well as psychologically.

“Generally, a large percentage of older people live in abject poverty and are also vulnerable to infectious diseases because of decreased immunity. We are also aware that currently, some are traumatized with the pandemic and are hopeless.

“This was the reason MANEPO embarked on door-to-door outreach programmes to educate them on what Coronavirus is; how it is spread and preventive measures to follow, in addition to distribution of hand sanitizers and soap because most of them cannot afford to buy such preventive materials,” Soko emphasized.

Today, Moses is one of the older people who has been sensitized on Covid-19 and lives a joyous life.

“I now understand what Coronavirus is and I always make sure that I follow all the preventive measures such as living in isolation and also wash hands with soap frequently because I do not want to succumb to this disease,” Moses explained.

In one of Covid-19 updates held in Lilongwe, Minister of Health who was Chairperson of the Special Cabinet Committee on Covid-19, before it was restructured by President Mutharika, Jappie Mhango said the country was currently making strides in raising awareness on preventive measures to follow to effectively contain further spread of the virus.

“Right now, a good number of people are aware of the pandemic and they are following hygienic etiquette like washing hands with soap regularly, avoiding handshakes and observing social distance, among others, in an attempt to prevent further spread of Covid-19,” he stated.

Mhango encourages all Malawians, including Moses to continue following high standards of hygiene as laid down in the measures to thwart the pandemic.

Written by

GOVERNMENT NOTICE No. ……

 

PUBLIC HEALTH ACT

(Cap. 34:01)

 

PUBLIC HEALTH (CORONA VIRUS PREVENTION, CONTAINMENT AND MANAGEMENT) RULES, 2020

 

IN EXERCISEof the powers conferred by section 31 of the Public Health Act and pursuant to my declaration of the corona virus disease as a formidable disease on the 1st day of April, 2020, I, JAPPIE CHANCY MTUWA MHANGO, Minister of Health, make the following Rules

ARRANGEMENT OF RULES

 

RULE

PART I ___ PRELIMINARY

1.      Citation  

2.      Interpretation

3.      Object and scope of Rules

4.      Application of Rules

 

PART II MEASURES

5.      Measures to prevent, contain and manage COVID-19 as a formidable disease

6.      Compulsory testing, detention, etc. to contain COVID-19

7.      Places of quarantine and isolation

8.      Certification of certain enforcement officers

9.      Assistance by area civil protection officers

10.  Essential services

11.  Lockdown

12.  Regulation of gatherings

13.  Regulation of workplaces

14.  Regulation of entry into Malaŵi

15.  Restrictions relating to transportation

16.  Prohibition relating to travel and permit requirement

17.  Restrictions on public entertainment and works

18.  Judicial proceedings

 

PART III MISCELLANEOUS

19.  Directives

20.  Offences and penalties

 

SCHEDULE

 


PUBLIC HEALTH ACT

(Cap. 34:01)

 

PUBLIC HEALTH (CORONA VIRUS PREVENTION, CONTAINMENT AND MANAGEMENT) RULES, 2020

 

 

PART I – PRELIMINARY

Citation

 

 

 

1.   These Rules may be cited as the Public Health (Corona Virus Prevention, Containment and Management) Rules, 2020.

Interpretation

 

 

 

2.   In these Rules, unless the context otherwise requires___

                 

Cap.33:05 

 

“area civil protection officer” means an area civil protection officer referred to in section referred to in section 23 of the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act;

 

“corona virus” means the severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) which emerged during 2019;

 

“COVID-19” means the official designation of the severe acute respiratory syndrome which was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on the 11th March, 2020;

 

“essential services” means services listed as essential services in the Schedule hereto;

 

“head of the institution” means the controlling officer of a public institution or the chief executive officer or the equivalent position of a private institution;

 

“enforcement officer” means—

 

(a)         a health officer;

(b)         a police officer;

(c)         a member of the Malaŵi Defence Force;

(d)         an immigration officer;

(e)         an airport commandant;

(f)           an officer in charge of a railway station;

(g)         an officer in charge of a port facility; or

(h)         an area civil protection officer designated pursuant to rule 9;

 

“gathering” means an assembly, concourse or procession of more than ten persons, whether wholly or partially in open air or in a building;

 

“isolation” means separating an individual infected with COVID-19 from healthy individuals in such a manner as to prevent the spread of infection or contamination by COVID-19;

 

“lockdown” means the restriction of movement of persons declared under Rule 11; and

 

“quarantine” means separating asymptomatic individuals potentially exposed to COVID-19 from non-exposed individuals in such a manner as to prevent the possible spread of infection or contamination by COVID-19.

Object and scope of Rules

 

  

3.(1) The object of these Rules is to enable the Minister to implement measures to prevent, contain and manage the incidence of COVID-19.

 

Cap.33:05

 

  (2) These Rules are enforceable whether or not a state of disaster in relation to COVID-19 is in force under the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act.

 

Application of Rules     

 

4.   These Rules apply to the whole of Malaŵi except where otherwise provided.

 

 

PART II – MEASURES

 
 

Measures to prevent, contain and manage COVID-19 as formidable disease

 

 

 

 

5.(1)The Minister may, pursuant to the declaration of COVID-19 as a formidable disease under section 30 of the Act prescribe measures to be imposed in order to prevent, contain and manage COVID-19 infection.

 

 

 

      (2) In pursuance of the object of these Rules and in addition to the powers granted to the Minister under section 31 of the Act, the Minister may, in consultation with any line Minister, and in conformity with any directions the line Minister may give, impose additional measures in order to prevent, contain and manage COVID-19.

 

(3) Where the Minister prescribes such measures or additional measures, he shall, soon thereafter, cause the measures to be published in the Gazette.

 

 
 

Compulsory testing, detention, etc. to contain COVID-19   

 

 

 

6.(1) An enforcement officer may, in relation to an individual or group of individuals who are suspected of being infected with, or who may have recently been exposed to the risk of infection by corona virus, order any one or a combination of the following things—

 

(a)         order the individual or individuals concerned to submit to a medical examination, instantly or at the time and place ordered, which examination may include but not be limited to the taking of a bodily sample by a health practitioner or other person acting under the supervision of a health practitioner;

(b)         order the mandatory management or prophylaxis of the individual or individuals concerned;

(c)         order the sequestration or disinfection or both of the baggage and personal effects of the individual or individuals concerned;

(d)         order the disinfection or evacuation for a period not exceeding twenty-four hours or both of the homes of the individual or individuals concerned or of any building or premises wherein they work or gather for any purpose; and

(e)         order the on-site detention, isolation or quarantining of the individual or individuals concerned, or their removal to a hospital or place of isolation or quarantine, and their detention at such site, hospital or place of isolation, pending the examination, management, prophylaxis or disinfection contemplated by paragraph (a) or (b), for a period expiring forty-eight hours after such order or until the certification of the individual or individuals concerned to be free of infection from COVID-19, whichever occurs later.

 

  (2) An enforcement officer may order any individual or group of individuals who have been confirmed, clinically or by a laboratory, as having COVID-19 to be quarantined for a period of not less than fourteen days within their homes or in a hospital or place of isolation and, during the period the quarantine is in force, to—

 

(a)         submit to further medical examination including the taking of any bodily sample by a health practitioner or other person acting under the supervision of a health practitioner;

(b)         be admitted or removed to a hospital or place of isolation; and

(c)         undergo mandatory management or prophylaxis.

 

  (3) Orders made under sub-rule (1) or (2)—

 

(a)         shall be communicated by any means whether verbal, written, broadcast or electronic and likely to make the orders known to the persons affected by the orders;

(b)         that provide for the detention, isolation or quarantine of any individual or group of individuals shall make reasonable provision for the individual or individuals concerned, to—

 

(i)                 have access to or be provided with basic necessities to enable them to maintain an acceptable standard of nutrition and hygiene; and

(ii)              be released temporarily from such detention, isolation or quarantine under specified conditions with the knowledge or consent of an enforcement officer;

 

(c)         where necessary, shall be enforced with the assistance of enforcement officers; and

(d)         shall be recorded and authenticated by the enforcement officers who issued them, and be kept for a period of at least seven years in the event that they are required for the purposes of any audit or judicial proceedings.

 

(4) A person who—

 

(a)         disobeys an order made under sub-rule (1) or (2); or

(b)         having been ordered to be detained, isolated or quarantined in any place, removes himself from such detention, isolation or quarantine without the knowledge or consent of an enforcement officer, or contrary to any conditions specified for any temporary release from such detention, isolation or quarantine,

commits an offence and is liable to fine of twenty thousand Kwacha and imprisonment for three months.

 

  (5) A person who escapes or attempts to escape from any place of detention, isolation or quarantine may be arrested without warrant.

 
 

Places of quarantine and isolation     

 

 

 

7.(1) The Minister may identify or approve sites to be used as isolation and quarantine facilities for the temporary confinement and management of individuals or groups of individuals who are suspected of being infected with, or who may have recently been exposed to the risk of infection by, or who have been confirmed as having COVID-19.

 

  (2) The Minister shall as soon as practicable publish the sites identified or approved under sub-rule (1), by notice published in the Gazette.

 

  (3) Any person who disobeys or fails to comply with an order under subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable to fine of twenty thousand Kwacha and to imprisonment for one year.

 
 

Certification of certain enforcement officers     

 

 

 

8.(1)The chief executive officer or district commissioner of every local authority, as the case may be, shall furnish each enforcement officer who is acting within the jurisdiction of the local authority with a certificate signed by or on behalf of the chief executive officer stating that he has been appointed as an enforcement officer for the purposes of these Rules.

 

  (2) An enforcement officer shall, on demand by any person affected by the exercise of the powers conferred upon enforcement officers under these Rules, exhibit the certificate issued to him under sub-rule (1).

Assistance by area civil protection officers     

 

  

Cap.33:05

 

9.   At the request of the Minister, an area civil protection officer referred to under the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act may designate other area civil protection officers who, in any local authority and acting under the guidance in that local authority of any enforcement officer, shall act as enforcement officers for the purposes of these Rules.

 
 

Essential services

 

 

 

 

10.(1)The services listed in the Schedule hereto shall be essential services.

 

(2) The head of the institution involved in the provision of an essential service or a person delegated by the head of the institution shall determine___

 

(a)   the essential service to be performed; and

(b)   the staff who shall perform the essential service during the lockdown.

 

(3) After making a determination in terms of sub-rule (2), and at the request of the head of the institution, the Minister shall issue a permit to every person who shall perform the essential service.

 

(4) The permit referred to in sub-rule (3) shall___

 

(a)   specify the name and surname of the staff member;

(b)   the identification number of the staff member; 

(c)   the essential service to be performed;

(d)   the name, address and contact details of the institution; and

(e)   be signed by the Minister.

 

(5) A person performing an essential service___

 

(a)   shall, on request, show the permit issued to him under sub-rule (3) to an enforcement officer or any person in relation to whom he may seek to perform a function;

(b)   may be screened for COVID-19, by an enforcement officer.

 

(6) The Minister may, at any time, amend the Schedule, by notice published in the Gazette.

 
 

 Lockdown  

 

 

 

11.(1) In furtherance of the measures imposed under section 31 of the Act, the Minister may declare a lockdown:

 

Provided that where the declaration has been made prior to its publication in the Gazette, the Minister shall, as soon as possible after making it, cause it to published in the Gazette.

 

(2) The Minister shall, in the declaration,

 

(a)   specify the date on which the lockdown commences and prescribe the duration of the lockdown;

(b)   specify the area to which the lockdown applies;

(c)   specify the persons to whom the declaration does not apply;

(d)   seek the deployment of the Malaŵi Defence Force and Malaŵi Police Services to enforce the lockdown;

(e)   allow the operation and provision of essential services;

(f)     prescribe the manner in which any person may access essential services and acquire basic necessities of life; and

(g)   specify any other matter he considers relevant.

 

(3) During a lockdown___

 

(a)   a person, except a person exempt under sub-rule (2)(c), shall___

 

                                                                                            (i)         be confined to his place of residence, except for any of the following reasons___

 

(aa)     performing an essential service;

(bb)     obtaining essential goods or services;

(cc)      seeking medical attention; or

(dd)     visits to pharmacies, food supply stores, courts or banks;

                                                                                           (ii)       not enter into or depart from a restricted area;

                                                                                          (iii)      not travel from one restricted area to another restricted area; or

                                                                                           (iv)       not sell or purchase alcoholic beverages;

 

(b)   all shops and businesses shall be closed, except those classified as essential services;

(c)   all open markets and informal trading activities shall be closed;

(d)   all entertainment places, including bottle stores, shebeens, bars, pubs and nightclubs, including those within hospitality facilities, cinemas, casinos and video shows, shall remain closed; and

(e)   restaurants, fast food outlets, cafes and coffee shops shall be closed to the public except to provide take away services.

 

(4) The Minister may, extend or further extend the duration of the lockdown for a period not exceeding one month at a time, and the Minister shall, as soon as possible after making the extension, cause it to be published in the Gazette.

 
 

Regulation of gatherings    

 

 

 

12.(1) For the purpose of these Rules, a “public gathering” is a gathering of more than ten persons, for a collective purpose, but does not include a situation where such number of persons coincidentally find themselves at a specific place at the same time:

 

Provided that where any number of persons coincidentally find themselves at a specific place at the same time, they shall observe a spacing between each other of at least two metres apart.

 

(2) An enforcement officer may, during the implementation of measures prescribed by the Minister under these Rules regarding restrictions on movement, order a public gathering to disperse and may use reasonable force to disperse a public gathering.

 

(3) In order to further regulate public gatherings, the Minister may

 

(a)   suspend or regulate the conduct of and the number of persons present at any meeting;

(b)   restrict the movements of persons by means of curfews in any local authority;

(c)   make restrictions on public transportation;

(d)   suspend the operation of markets and direct local authorities on the conduct, operation, opening and closure of markets;

(e)   suspend or regulate the conduct of barber shops, hair salons, spas, saunas, massage parlours and similar close proximity services;

(f)     regulate religious worship and restrict religious gatherings or meetings for the purpose of public worship in a local authority;

(g)   suspend or restrict the operation and conduct of institutions of higher education, schools, early child development centres and adult literacy centres;

(h)   suspension or prohibition of social gatherings including weddings, engagement ceremonies, baby or bridal showers;

(i)     suspend cultural events and activities;

(j)     restrict the conduct of funerals;

(k)   compel the provision of sanitary or hygienic facilities at public events;

(l)     compel the provision of adequate ventilation at a gathering;

(m)impose the maximum number of persons allowed to be present at a gathering.

 

(4) Any shop, market or kiosk selling or distributing essential products and basic necessities shall operate within prescribed COVID-19 guidelines, including

 

(a)   practice of sanitary and hygienic measures;

(b)   provision of adequate ventilation;

(c)   increasing trading hours in order to prevent congestion and overcrowding;

(d)   enforcing inter-personal distance of not less than one metre.

 

(5) A person who contravenes this section or a measure imposed under this section, commits an offence and is on conviction liable to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand Kwacha and to imprisonment for three months.

 

 
 

Regulation of workplaces

 

 

 

13.(1) The Minister may prescribe the following measures on employers and employees

 

(a)   operation of shifts for employees;

(b)   the spacing between shifts for employees at a workplace;

(c)   restrictions on the number of persons at any workplace at any time;

(d)   the spacing between employees at a workplace;

(e)   prevention of persons showing general symptoms of COVID-19 from accessing a workplace;

(f)     where applicable, provision of isolation facilities at a workplace for employees showing symptoms of COVID-19;

(g)   provision of personal protective equipment for all persons at a workplace;

(h)   observance of sanitary and hygienic practices, including disinfection of the workplace and in between shifts.

 

Regulation of entry into Malaŵi     

 

14.(1) In furtherance of the provisions of section 38 of the Act, every person who___

 

(a)   is not a Malaŵian citizen;

(b)   does not hold a residence permit for Malaŵi;

(c)   is not domiciled or ordinarily resident in Malaŵi;

(d)   is not part of team of medical personnel that is required to provide medical services in Malaŵi to alleviate the COVID-19 pandemic;

(e)   is not a member of the diplomatic or consular staff of a country that is accredited to Malaŵi or in transit to another country; or

(f)     is not a spouse, child or dependent of a person referred to in paragraphs (a) to (e),

 

 

shall for purposes of preventing the introduction of COVID-19 into Malaŵi, be refused entry into Malaŵi.

 

  (2) Notwithstanding section 38 of the Act, a person who___

 

(a)   is a driver of a vehicle transporting essential goods;

(b)   performs any service relating to the operation of the vehicle referred to in paragraph (a);

(c)   performs an essential service relating to the transport referred to in paragraph (a); or

(d)  

Cap.15:03

 

complies with or meets such requirements as may be determined by the Minister responsible for immigration in directives issued under these Rules or pursuant to the Immigration Act,

in the course of business or trade or commerce may be allowed to enter Malaŵi during the period of lockdown where entry is otherwise lawful.

 
 

Restrictions relating to transportation       

 

 

 

15.   The Minister may prescribe any of the following measures with respect to operation of public transportation and regulation of traffic in Malaŵi ___

 

(a) road transport___

 

                                                                                            (i)         reduction of seating capacity, including the necessary spacing between passengers on public service or private vehicles;

                                                                                           (ii)       prohibition of operation of all passenger carrying vehicles without slide opening windows;

                                                                                          (iii)      disinfection of a public service vehicle prior to commencement of every trip;

                                                                                           (iv)       use of personal protective equipment by the operator and crew of the public service vehicle;

                                                                                            (v)        provision of sanitary and hygiene facilities on board;

                                                                                           (vi)       prohibition or restriction of animals on board public service vehicles;

                                                                                          (vii)     prohibition or restriction of passengers on goods vehicles; and

                                                                                        (viii)     suspension of international or transit passenger travel;

 

(b) air transport___

 

(i)          suspension of commercial international or domestic flights;

(ii)        reduction of carrying capacity of aircrafts;

(iii)      disinfection of aircrafts and equipment on board prior to commencement of every trip;

(iv)       use of personal protective equipment by the operator and crew of all aircrafts, ground crew and other airport operators;

(v)         provision of sanitary and hygiene facilities on board;

(vi)       prohibition or restriction of animals on board;

(vii)    restriction of passenger movements while on board;

(viii)  where applicable, mandatory provision of isolation cabins for persons showing general symptoms of COVID-19;

(ix)       suspension of casual visits by the public to airports; and

(x)    restrictions on flights to___

 

(aa) permit returning residents;

(bb) entry of essential services personnel, essential equipment, emergency relief items; and

(cc)  general cargo;

 

(c)   water transport___

 

(i)                 reduction of carrying capacity;

(ii)              disinfection of vessels and equipment on board prior to commencement of every trip;

(iii)            use of personal protective equipment by the operator and crew of all vessels;

(iv)             provision of sanitary and hygiene facilities on board;

(v)               prohibition or restriction of animals on board;

(vi)             restriction of passenger movements while on board;

(vii)           mandatory provision of isolation cabins for persons showing general symptoms of COVID-19; and

(viii)         suspension of casual visits by the public to ports;

 

(d)   rail transport___

 

(i)                 reduction of carrying capacity;

(ii)              disinfection of coaches and equipment on board prior to commencement of every trip;

(iii)            use of personal protective equipment by the operators, ground and on board crew of all coaches;

(iv)             provision of sanitary and hygiene facilities on board;

(v)               prohibition or restriction of animals on board;

(vi)             restriction of passenger movements while on board;

(vii)           mandatory provision of isolation cabins for persons showing general symptoms of COVID-19; and

(viii)         suspension of casual visits by the public to rail stations;

 

  (2) A person who contravenes sub-rule (1) commits an offence and is on conviction liable to a fine of twenty thousand Kwacha and imprisonment for three months.

 
 

Prohibition relating to travel and permit requirement      

 

 

 

16.(1) Where an enforcement officer finds a person under circumstances which create a reasonable suspicion that the person is likely to contravene a restriction n movement, the enforcement officer may instruct the person to stop the journey in question and failure to obey the instruction shall be deemed to be a contravention of or failure to comply with the restriction, and that person is liable to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand Kwacha and to imprisonment for three months.

 

(2) Where a person has to travel to a restricted area or depart from a restricted area, for___

 

(a)   purposes of receiving essential medical management;

(b)   purposes of attending a funeral of a close family member, an acquaintance or a dependant;

(c)   purposes of assisting a close family member, acquaintance or dependant who is ill or otherwise suffers from a distressing situation; and

(d)   any other reason which an enforcement officer considers sufficient to warrant the travelling,

that person may obtain a permit from an enforcement officer nearest to that person or at the point of entry into or exit from a restricted area, authorizing travel.

 

(3) A person is exempt from the requirement of obtaining a permit to travel as contemplated in sub-rule (2), if that travel is necessary to___

 

(a)   transport goods related to an essential service;

(b)   perform an action necessary for the enforcement of law or public order;

(c)   perform an essential service;

(d)   facilitate the distribution of food or other basic necessities of life;

(e)   maintain or repair infrastructure necessary or useful for the provision of water, electricity, communication or financial services; or

(f)     perform any other essential service that cannot reasonably be postponed.

 

Restrictions on public entertainment and works

 

17.(1) The Minister may prescribe any of the following measures with respect to public entertainment and works in Malaŵi __

 

(a)   restrictions or closure of entertainment facilities, including bottle stores, shebeens, bars, pubs and nightclubs, including those within hospitality facilities, cinemas, casinos and video shows;

(b)   restrictions of fast food outlets, restaurants and public eating facilities, including those in hospitality facilities;

(c)   suspension of sporting activities; and

(d)   suspension or prohibition of construction or other public works.

 

Judicial proceedings     

 

18.(1) A judicial officer may use electronic means of hearing and conducting a matter as a primary means, including the service of documents, actual hearing of the parties, receiving evidence and making determinations.

 

(2) Where it is absolutely necessary that a matter be heard in chambers or in open court, a judicial officer presiding over a matter shall___

 

(a)   cause the chamber or open court where the hearing takes place to be disinfected prior to commencement of the hearing of the matter;

(b)   ensure that persons in a closed space are sitting or standing at least two metres apart from each other in all directions;

(c)   all persons in the chamber or open court have personal protective equipment during the proceedings;

(d)   the chamber or open court is well ventilated;

(e)   the hearing does not exceed two hours without a break of at least thirty minutes;

(f)     ensure that, prior to entry into the chamber or open court, every person has practiced sanitary and hygienic measures, including washing of hands.

 

(3) The Chief Justice may___

 

(a)   issue directions to___

                                                                                (a)       prescribe the use of electronic means as a primary means of hearing, conducting and disposing of matters;

                                                                                (b)       suspend the hearing of matters in chambers or open court;

                                                                                (c)        prescribe the number of persons present in a chamber or open court;

                                                                                (d)      

Cap.3:01

Cap.3:02

Cap.3:03 

 

suspend, extend or relax the procedure and time periods prescribed under the Supreme Court of Appeal Act, Courts Act and Local Courts Act;

                                                                                (e)        allow officers with underlying medical conditions to stay at home; and

                                                                                (f)         address, prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19 in all courts in Malaŵi; and

(b)   request the Minister to impose special measures in the manner of administering the courts in order to combat the spread of COVID-19.

 

   (4) Directions issued under sub-rule (2)(a) shall be regarded, and have the same effect, as directives issued under rule 20.

 

 
 

Parliamentary proceedings

 

 

 

19.(1)Where it is absolutely necessary that a sitting of the National Assembly shall take place, the Speaker shall___

 

(a)   cause the chamber to be disinfected prior to commencement of the hearing of the matter;

(b)   ensure that any person in the chamber is sitting or standing at least two metres apart from each other in all directions;

(c)   all persons in the chamber have personal protective equipment during the proceedings;

(d)   the chamber is well ventilated;

(e)   the proceedings do not exceed two hours without a break of at least thirty minutes;

(f)     ensure that, prior to entry into the chamber, every person has practiced sanitary and hygienic measures, including washing of hands.

 

(2) The Speaker mayissue directions to___

                                                                                (a)       use of electronic means at the National Assembly in conducting the business of the National Assembly;

                                                                                (b)       suspend a sitting of the National Assembly;

                                                                                (c)       

 

 

limit the number of persons who are not Members of Parliament to be present in the chamber, at any time;

                                                                                (d)       suspend, extend or relax the procedure and time periods prescribed under the Standing Orders of the National Assembly;

                                                                                (e)        allow officers with underlying medical conditions to stay at home; and

                                                                                (f)         address, prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19 in the National Assembly.

 

(3) The Speaker shall, from time to time, request the Minister to prescribe special measures in the manner of administering proceedings in the National Assembly in order to combat the spread of COVID-19.

 

 

PART III – MISCELLANEOUS

 
 

Directives

 

 

 

20.(1)The Minister may issue directives for the purpose of___

 

(a)   supplementing or amplifying on any provision of these Rules; or

(b)   ensuring that the objectives of these Rules are attained.

 

(2) A directive issued under this rule has the force of law and may deal with any matter that is within the ambit of any legislation or other law that is administered by the Minister concerned.

 

(3) Any directive issued under this rule shall be___

 

(a)   vetted by the Attorney-General; and

(b)   published in the Gazette.

 

  (4) A directive issued in terms of these Rules becomes effective on the date of its publication in the Gazette.

 

  (5) A directive may create offences for contraventions of, or failure to comply with, the directive and provide for penalties of a fine not exceeding twenty thousand Kwacha or imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months.

 

Offences and penalties    

 

 

21.(1) A person commits an offence if that person___

 

(a)   not being an enforcement officer, by words, conduct or demeanour falsely represents himself or herself to be an enforcement officer;

(b)   hinders, obstructs or improperly attempts to influence an enforcement officer when exercising or performing a power or function conferred or imposed by or under these Rules or another law;

(c)   furnishes or gives false or misleading information to an enforcement officer; and

(d)   does anything calculated to improperly influence an enforcement officer concerning a matter connected with the functions of the enforcement officer.

 

  (2) A person convicted of an offence in terms of sub-rule (1) is liable to a fine of twenty thousand Kwacha and to imprisonment for three months.

 

 

 

 

SCHEDULE                                                 

(r. 2, 10)

ESSENTIAL SERVICES

 

PART I

1. Ambulance services

2. Casualties services

3. Theatre services

4. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) services

5. Hospital wards

6. Laboratory services

7. Pharmaceutical services

8. Dental services

9. Radiography services

10. Physiotherapy service

11. Mortuary services

12. Medical services including medical specialized services

13. Hospital kitchen services

14. Hospital laundry services

15. Emergency management services

16. Disaster management services

17. Portable water services

18. Waste water management services

19. Utility services

20. Electricity distribution services

21. Electricity operation services

22. Electricity maintenance services

23. Electricity transmission services

24. Electricity network operation services

25. Electricity system operation services

26. Electricity system security and planning services

27. Electricity engineering services

28. Electricity energy trading services

29. Air navigation services

30. Air traffic management services

31. Communication, navigation and surveillance system services

32. Search and rescue services

33. Aeronautical information services

34. Meteorological services for air navigation services

35. Firefighting and related emergency services

36. Veterinary services

37. Law enforcement

38. National defence

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART II

 

1. Agriculture, forestry and fishing

 

Agricultural production and value chains (Animal husbandry, Agronomic and horticulture) supply related operations, including farming, veterinary and phyto-sanitary provider services, pest control services, feed and chemical and fertilizer remedies providers.

Millers & logistics services.

 

2. Fishing

Vessel and fishing processing plants maintenance and service providers.

 

3. Mining and quarrying

Related operations to maintain minimal mining operations and essential maintenance work.

 

4. Manufacturing

Manufacturing of health related products, hygiene and sanitary related products, supplies, devices, equipment, and medicines, including complementary health products and supplements; food, non-alcoholic beverages and essential products, as well as essential inputs thereto. This includes production for exporting the same product categories. Production for disposable health and hygiene and sanitary related products, as well as for the production of packaging for essential health and food supply chains. Food, beverages and essential products manufacturing and processing facilities, to the extent they are supporting essential or essential business continuity services to the fight of COVID-19.

 

5. Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply

Public and private organizations, their staff and service providers essential to the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning will need to continue to operate. This includes municipalities, and the suppliers of logistics, feedstock and maintenance will be required to continue to operate and provide security of electricity supply.

 

6. Water supply, purification, desalination, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities

Public and private organizations, their staff and service providers essential to the security of supply of bulk and potable water and sanitation must continue to operate and provide vital water and sanitation services. This includes municipalities and those involved in the supply of materials, chemicals and related equipment.

 

7. Construction

Any maintenance support requirements for retailers, manufacturers producing essential goods, support to medical services; plumbing and electrical services, security installations and maintenance, water management and sewerage. Building of medical infrastructures and quarantine camps in support of essential or essential business continuity services to the fight of COVID-19.

 

8. Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles

Retail, wholesale, supermarkets / home kiosks for food and essential products. Essential hygiene products include: toilet paper, cleaners, sanitizers and disinfectants, personal hygiene products, and essential supplies for those taking care of the sick and elderly and in order for people to remain healthy. All services related to the repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles to continue in as far as are providing support to the fight of COVID-19.

 

9. Transportation, logistics and storage

Warehousing, transport, distribution, cold storage and logistics for food & essential products, production inputs and health related goods. This includes operations at all entry points.  Humanitarian and relief functions in the fight of COVID-19 will be permitted.

 

10. Accommodation and food service activities

To the extent that they are supporting essential or essential business continuity services to the fight of the COVID-19 subject to take away and not dinning in restaurants.

 

11. Information and communication

Communication and media services on screen, TV, radio, print, broadcast and online.

 

12. Legal, Financial, Banking and insurance activities

Legal, court, financial, banking and insurance services and health funders required to finance and support essential and essential business continuity and provide short term bridging finance to people and businesses during this period.

 

13. Professional, scientific and technical activities

Professional scientific and technical services, to the extent that they are providing support in the Covid-19 response, essential and essential services.

 

14. Administrative and support service activities

Private and public services to the extent that they are providing support in the Covid-19 response, essential and essential business continuity services.

 

 

 

15. Public administration and defense; compulsory social security

Personnel to the extent that they are providing support in the Covid-19 response, essential and essential business continuity services. Safety and security services protecting people and property.

 

16. Human health and social work activities

All centers providing life and health services; energy, food and water supply, social, transactional, communications, law and order & international essential business continuity services.

 

17. Information communications technology

Data centers, fiber optic infrastructure, towers and antennae will need to operate at high efficiency to ensure connectivity remains stable during the lockdown.

 

 


 
 

 Made this 8th day of April, 2020.

 

 

 

                                                                      J.C.M. MHANGO

                                                                        Minister of Health   

(File No.: Sub. 34:01)                        

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