Blantyre, 10 August, 2020 / 10:17 pm (ACI Africa).
Catholic Bishops in Malawi have lamented their exclusion from the process of formulating and announcing new COVID-19 guidelines in the Southeastern African nation despite their active participation at the grassroots, “lobbying for COVID-19 compliant behaviour.”
“The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) wishes to express its displeasure at the manner the new Guidelines have been issued,” the Bishops say in their collective statement issued Sunday, August 9.
“They have taken us by surprise,” ECM members say in reference to the Government and add, “We were neither informed nor consulted despite the fact that we have been in the forefront lobbying for COVID-19 compliant behavior.”
The Bishops’ reaction follows the Saturday, August 8 new COVID-19 directives announced by Malawi’s Attorney General, Dr. Chikosa Silungwe, including the suspension of public worship and similar public gatherings.
The new directives, which came into effect August 8 until further notice, converted COVID-19 measures into a legal framework that “will empower designated people including police officers, traditional authorities and health officers to enforce the rules such as social distancing, hand washing and mandatory mask wearing in public,” Malawi News Agency has quoted the Attorney General as saying.