LILONGWE (MalawiTalk) – The spectre on the ground is evident: Malawians have thrown out COVID-19 regulations and are returning their lives to normalcy.
Just around the cities—Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Zomba; there is selective enforcement by police seen to be quick to close some joints while leaving others to operate freely as they pleased.
In Blantyre, several upmarket clubs were found open beyond midnight on Friday and Saturday. It was the same with some clubs in Lilongwe and Mzuzu amid allegations that some business owners bribe the police to leave their bars and clubs open.
National Police spokesperson James Kadadzera was adamant saying police were still enforcing the Covid-19 preventive measures to the letter.
He acknowledged that some business owners flout the law deliberately.
Kadadzera said some drinking joints owners only close their premises upon being tipped off that police are heading towards the direction of their places only to reopen after police leave.
He said: “We are mounting roadblocks to ensure that passengers are not crowded in vehicles. We are still conducting patrols to arrest people not wearing face masks. We are also sensitising people to all the Covid-19 restrictions.
“We are enforcing this, but we might not be at each and every bottle store. So, don’t portray us as if we are doing nothing. Some are doing this deliberately.”
Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 co-chairperson Wilfred Chalamira Nkhoma said police are better-placed to comment on the enforcement mechanism.
He said the Covid-19 public health guidelines were gazetted as law; hence, there has to be law enforcement undertaken.
Social commentator Humphrey Mvula said it will be difficult to enforce all the Covid-19 rules and regulations, especially in drinking joints because some owners only survive through the business.
He observed that there is also a rebellious attitude among some Malawians and the country will continue to see some resistance because some of the individuals have been constrained to behave in that particular manner.
Mvula asked government to find ways of motivating both drinking joints owners and their customers to comply with Covid-19 rules and regulations.
He said: “We should understand that there is that intrinsic rebellion within individuals who feel they have not beenf fairly treated. It is a problem that we have to do a balancing act. Government must find ways of motivating these individuals.”
In January this year, government introduced Covid-19 public health guidelines, including restricting public gatherings to a maximum of 50 people, ordering bars to open from 2pm to 8pm and mandatory wearing of face masks in public places.
The measures were reinforced in the wake of a surge in Covid-19 cases as the second wave ravaged the country with rising death toll.