Business as usual: Political parties ignore Covid-19 social distancing measures

…Social commentators say Malawi might as well open schools, bars

Major political parties have ignored Covid-19 social distancing measures during presentation of nomination papers, and social commentators have said it is meaningless to continue closure of schools and bars.

On Wednesday, Malawi Congress Party, UTM and their alliance partners presented nomination papers to the Malawi Electoral Commission.

DPP supporters on Thursday

Hundreds of their supporters stormed the streets to show support for their leaders.

At Mount Soche Convention Centre, members of the alliance also initially ignored measures on social distancing but were forced to leave the hall after MEC commissioners refused to start the event while there were over 100 people in the hall.

Today, President Peter Mutharika will present his papers and supporters of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) had already filled the streets on Thursday morning to escort their leader.

Mutharika is the one who announced the ban on gatherings of over 100 people as well as closure of schools and bars in March.

The Mutharika administration wanted to institute a 21-day locdown last month but the measure was blocked by a High Court order.

Meanwhile, Malawians on social media have argued that the social distancing measures are meaningless if political parties continue to ignore them.

“Let’s not waste each other’s time anymore, let’s reopen all the bars, churches, mosques and the gyms,” wrote Twitter user @chiffwayi.

Vukiwe Thukuta Ng’oma said: “Why are we wasting resources preventing covid-19?”

Other commentators have expressed suspicions if the measures Mutharika’s administration instituted were aimed at preventing Covid-19 or delaying the 2020 presidential elections.

“Now the argument about the failed lock down is completely settled. It never had anything to do with COVID-19. Locking down with 2 cases plus the most ridiculous effort on Testing Tracking and Tracing never made sense as an outbreak strategy. I scratched my head about a strategy that was as good as closing the windows to the virus but leaving the doors open. Now we know..,” wrote Facebook user Thandie Wa Pulimuheya.

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