By-elections campaign could trigger third wave of Covid-19 – CHRR

…Police urged to enforce Covid-19 measures at political rallies

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) has expressed concern that the ongoing political campaigns for the March 30 by-elections will lead to further spread of Covid-19 and even trigger a third wave of the pandemic.

In a statement on Thursday, CHRR Executive Director Michael Kaiyatsa said they have observed that political parties, including those in the governing Tonse Alliance, are holding mass rallies where very few people are wearing facemasks or observing social distancing.

He said the continued disregard of Covid-19 preventive measures could trigger a third wave if the behaviour by political parties is left unchecked.

A recent DPP political rally in Karonga

“CHRR wonders why Police are not intervening to enforce Covid-19 measures during such rallies. Over the last months, armed police officers have been roaming the streets, harassing citizens to enforce Covid-19 measures, yet political parties are conducting rallies with total disregard for Covid-19 measures and police are nowhere to be seen.This is hypocrisy and it must stop.

“CHRR urges the Tonse administration to avoid double standards when enforcing Covid-19 measures. Political parties (including those in government) are not above the law. As a country, we cannot have a law that applies to citizens, and not political parties. This is double standards,” he explained.

He added that CHRR is expecting government to be unwavering in its approach to the pandemic, especially with reports that some countries are experiencing a third wave of the pandemic.

Kaiyatsa went on to say that president Lazarus Chakwera should demonstrate leadership by ensuring that his own political party and political bedfellows are complying with Covid-19 measures.

He also urged political leaders from both sides of the political divide to work together to combat political violence and not waste time in blame-games.