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Parliament Ratifies State of Emergency

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It took almost the whole of yesterday Thursday 26th March, 2020 for Members of Parliament from all sides of the Well to debate and unanimously ratify a twelve months State of Public Emergency (SOE) proclaimed by President Julius Maada Bio on Tuesday 24th March, 2020.

The atmosphere in the Well of Parliament was tense and it seemed as if opposition and ruling party MPs would not disagree to agree. At one point, Speaker of the House of Parliament, Hon. Abass Chernor Bundu, stood the House down during which period MPS were seen holding side meetings to negotiate and exchange ideas.

MPs from all the sides spoke lengthily on the pros and cons of the State of Emergency and most were of the opinion that it was in place taking into consideration the current health threat facing the nation. A few MPS Hon. Mohamed Bangura, Hon. Abdul Kamara and Hon. Sahr Francis Bhundu however in their respective submissions raised the issue about the timeliness of the SOE, arguing that the timing was wrong or the duration too long.

However, at the end of the great debate, Members of Parliament unanimously ratified the State of Emergency to become a law but called for regulations to be drafted because according to them, the State of Emergency can only work well with laid down regulations.

Leader of NGC and Member of Parliament, Hon Kandeh Yumkella and other MPs further moved a motion for the government to draft regulations guiding the SOE; but that this should be done in collaboration with MPs for it to be effective and enforceable.

Parliament was adjourned to 7th April, 2020 when the regulations would be debated for ratification to finally make the SOE legally binding.

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