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Attorney General to guide court on lockdown case

SILUNGWE—The court will take it up from there

Newly appointed Attorney General Chikosa Silungwe has said his office will be involved in the High Court case regarding the implementation of the lockdown measures gazetted in April this year to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The High Court hearing the case which was certified as constitutional has told the parties involved who include Human Rights Defenders Coalition, Prophet David Mbewe and Church and Society of Livingtonia Synod, among others to file submissions by today.

Silungwe said his office will only guide the court by answering constitutional questions that have been given to them.

“We are filing our submissions tomorrow [today]. There are eight questions that have been asked; they are constitutional questions so we will answer those questions as the Constitution stipulates,” Silungwe said.

This is a contrary direction to what the immediate-past AG Kalekeni Kaphale took who opted to withdraw the government’s involvement in the lockdown case.

Silungwe said in a constitutional matter, his office’s role is to strictly guide the court on the Constitution and not to argue in a partisan manner.

“So we will answer the questions as we see them in order to guide the court. The court will take it up from there as to whether the lockdown as was purportedly gazetted was constitutional or not,” he said.

Three months ago, the office of the AG withdrew its involvement to challenge the matter and left the matter in the hands of the court, with an argument that the court will make a right decision considering the news of spread of the pandemic in the public domain.

As of Sunday, July 19, 2020 the country had recorded 85 new Covid-19 cases with 62 deaths and 1,777 active cases.

Cumulatively, the country has recorded 2,992 cases surpassing Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa and Mozambique.

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