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Court adjourns mandatory vaccine case

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Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda

High Court Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda has adjourned the case in which Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (Cdedi) and freelance journalist Mundango Nyirenda want the court to stop the implementation of mandatory Covid vaccination for some sectors.

The interpartes hearing followed an application made by Cdedi and Nyirenda to stop the Ministry of Health from implementing the mandatory administration of Covid vaccines. They also want Parliament to stop demanding Covid certificates from its employees as a precondition for accessing Parliament premises.

The application was also meant to stop all private and public institutions from demanding vaccination certificates from employees and customers as a requirement for accessing premises.

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Lawyer representing the claimants, Oscar Taulo, told the court that the Covid vaccine is just an experimental vaccine that should not be taken seriously.

“Coronavirus vaccines, [in fact] all the vaccines, are short term and not yet approved by health authorities. They, therefore, cannot be forced on people,” Taulo said.

However, Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda described Sylvester Namiwa and Mundango as trouble-makers who have nothing to do with health issues and who cannot stand on behalf of Malawians on health issues.

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Chakaka Nyirenda also argued that the applicants had sued the wrong public institutions.

According to the AG, the applicants wrongly addressed the Speaker by saying “Speaker of Parliament”, instead of Speaker of the National Assembly, and that, as such, they “misinformed the court”.

He added that Mundango misled the court by saying that he was sent back at Parliament Building for not having a Covid certificate.

The AG said, as opposed to what Mundango said, there was no such meeting at Parliament Building.

“The applicants Mundango Nyirenda and Sylvester Namiwa are mercenary, busybodies and trouble-makers that do not know what they are looking for, “ Chakaka Nyirenda said.

According to the AG, the decision by Cdedi was only taken by one person and not all the board members.

He argued that Cdedi just copied a document from the International Criminal Court, representing them as facts that the court needs to consider.

The AG asked the court to interpret the importance of the vaccine, citing the World Health Organisation as one of the bodies that urges the public to get inoculated.

“The decision by the Clerk of Parliament to issue the mandate was purely a decision to its employees. As an employer, it [Parliament] has a duty to protect employees from infectious diseases,” Chakaka Nyirenda said.

However, Taulo argued that it was bad for the Ministry of Health and Speaker of the National Assembly to issue a directive for mandatory use of Covid preventive measures.

Taulo, however, informed the court that he was representing the organisation on pro bono basis and asked the court that each side should bear the costs if need be.

But the AG asked the court that the applicants should bear the costs, arguing that the court is using taxpayers’ money.

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