No State Of Emergency -Parliament Insists

Opposition parties and independent members of parliament have kicked against the state of public emergency announced by President Julius Maada Bio.
The state of emergency, scheduled to last for a year is one of the proactive measures for the deadly Corona Virus.
The main opposition, All People’s Congress and other political parties including Coalition for Change, National Grand Coalition and Independent members spoke with one voice in condemning the state of public emergency saying the one-year period was too long.
Apart from the state of public emergency, opposition parliamentarians also maintained that some paragraphs in the proclamation were not well-defined.
The proclamation has taken parliamentarians aback since the country is yet to record a case of Corona Virus.
Members of Parliament are of the strong view that since there are restrictions on public gathering, ban on flight operations, congregational prayers, among others, the one-year state of emergency seems unreasonable.
The Ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party failed to convince opposition members of parliament to endorse the pronouncement of a state of public emergency.
Owing to the stand-off among parliamentarians on the state of public emergency, the Speaker of Parliament, Dr Abass Bundu adjourned the proceedings to tomorrow so that parliament could take a definite position.
“Because parliament is unable to conclude on the proclamation of public emergency, I hereby adjoined the house for Thursday 26th March, 2020 with the expectation that the house will arrive at a definite position.” Dr. Abass Bundu.
Dr Abass Bundu also reminded parliamentarians about the inconclusive proceedings during which some Ministries, departments and agencies were to brief parliament on the Corona Virus preparedness.
The constitution of Sierra Leone confers powers on the President to proclaim a state of public emergency where the state is threatened by war, natural disaster and other health hazards. But, the proclamation, as the law demands, must enjoy one-third majority votes.
This is not the first time for parliament to reject a presidential proclamation of state public emergency.
Quite recently, parliament condemned a state of public emergency pronounced by President Julius Maada Bio on sexual offences.
Parliament was opposed to the state of public emergency on the grounds that there other means to fight sexual violence in the country.

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