By Lisa Kabambe
The Minister of Civic education and National Unity Timothy Mtambo, has called on all political parties involved in the forthcoming byelections in various parts of the country to be warry of the Covid pandemic and work towards responsible campaigning. He was speaking at the daily Covid briefing in Lilongwe amidst growing concerns that the political rallies are having people not adhering to Covid preventative measures which has raised concerns for a possible Covid third wave in the country.
Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) will hold Parliamentary and Local Government by-elections in Nsanje, Mulanje, Zomba, Balaka, Lilongwe, Ntchisi, Chikwawa and Karonga on 30th March. With Campaigning hotting up , there has been growing concerns as Covid preventative measures keeps getting ignored with politicians holding rallies that have people not wearing masks or let alone socially distancing .
“The Ministry has noted with great concern, that COVID-19 preventive measures are not being followed during campaign rallies. This conduct is worrisome and must stop immediately as it may trigger massive spread of the deadly disease. The fact that statistics show a decline in the number of new infections and deaths, does not mean the pandemic has been contained in the country” said Mtambo
Malawi has seen decreasing numbers of Covid cases recently but the threat of the numbers increasing again has been highlighted as more and more people are not following preventative measures that includes wearing masks, washing hands regularly with soap or using hand sanitisers, socially distancing or staying home and only travelling if its essential .
Although the Vaccine initiative has been rolled out after the Astra Zeneca vaccine donation from Covax, not many people have been vaccinated yet. A situation that leave many Malawians still vulnerable to catching the virus and getting ill.
Mtambo said his Ministry would like to remind everyone involved in the by-election in all the areas involved that Covid 19 is still in our midst. He urged all politicians to act responsibly for the common good by ensuring that COVID-19 preventive measures of wearing face masks covering the mouth and nose, washing hands with soap frequently and social distancing, are adhered to during the by-election process.