The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has condemned Government for relaxing Covid-19 measures on political gatherings while maintaining strict restrictions on the hospitality industry which employs thousands of people.
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said that although there is need to be revisiting the Covid-19 preventive measures, the organization has noted with regret the apparent shifting of goal posts by government as seen in the recently announced measures by the Minister of Health, Hon. Khumbize Kandodo-Chiponda.
The Ministry of Health on Saturday said political gatherings, which had been restricted to maximum of 100 attendees, are now allowed to have 100 persons attending if held in doors and 250 persons if outdoors.
However, requirements for bars and entertainment to close by 10PM have not been relaxed. Businesses in the hospitality and recreation sectors have also been advised to implement measures to decongest business premises and encourage take away.
CDEDI executive director Sylvester Namiwa said the Tonse Alliance administration is trying hard to make Malawians believe that the virus is so sensitive that it spreads faster in the hospitality industry, entertainment, sports and religious gatherings, while it is very slow to spread in political gatherings.
He also accused government of making changes on gatherings to pave the way for political parties, including the ruling Malawi Congress Party (MCP) to hold rallies.
“We know, for sure, this dangerous decision has been arrived at in view of the forthcoming by-elections. But need we remind all and sundry that political rallies, no matter how small they may be, are super spreaders of this virus.
“Surprisingly, government has maintained the stringent measures on the hospitality industry which directly employs thousands of Malawians, and millions of others indirectly,” he said.
He then reminded Government that Covid-19 is deadly and has caused the death of many people including politicians
Namiwa urged President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera and his administration to stop playing hide-and-seek games with this deadly pandemic.
He added that CDEDI expects the consideration on political parties and other areas to also apply to the hospitality industry, which is now on its deathbed.
“Government should stop this carelessness in the implementation of the restrictions just to suit its desires as it smacks lack of seriousness, and has the potential to trigger resistance from the citizens, ” said Namiwa.