The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) says the Lazarus Chakwera administration’s intention to make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory in Malawi is reckless experimentation with laws that touch on human rights.
The organisation has since demanded government to focus on fixing the economy instead of trampling on the rights of citizens who are riddled with effects of economic challenges.
It was reported by the local media over the weekend that government is considering mandatory jabs,
CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa has since said that based on the current situation on the ground, mandatory jabs are expectedly going to face resistance from citizens, majority of whom are riddled with effects of economic challenges.
Namiwa has therefore called on government to tread carefully in its bid to roll out the mandatory Covid-19 vaccination campaign at a time when Malawians are in need of an economic recovery plan complete with measures to cushion marginalised and vulnerable people in our society.
“CDEDI strongly believes that citizens have a right to choose whether or not to be vaccinated. So, while some citizens can freely choose life and go for the vaccine others can also choose life by deciding not to take the jab. It should not be a compulsory affair. Therefore, government needs to tread carefully on this matter to avoid trampling on the right to privacy, religion and conscious of the citizens,” he observed.
Namiwa also challenged President Chakwera to strive all the time to run an open, transparent and accountable government by commissioning a study similar to that done by the University of Malawi’s Centre for Social Research, that should provide scientific evidence that the jab is effective.
He said while CDEDI appreciates the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic and efforts government is making to combat it, his organisation has noted with concern the turning of a blind eye on other killer diseases such as malaria, TB, HIV/Aids, BP, diabetes, malnutrition and, of course, dehumanizing poverty hence the need to take a human rights approach when thinking about mandatory Covid-19 vaccination.
“Such emotive measures should be taken alongside tangible concepts to recover the economy and cushion the poor to avoid a situation where those who will have been saved from the pandemic die needlessly due to unprecedented essential drug stock outs in our public health facilities, coupled with starvation and hunger due to the tough economic situation on the ground,” he said.
Namiwa further cautioned government against diverting people’s attention from their cries for better living conditions brought by its poor economic policies through delving into emotive human rights issues such as mandatory vaccination.