Two officials of the Weah administration, opposition Senator ConmanyWesseh, and the Head of the Governing Council of the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change, Chief Cyril Allen have criticized President Weah’s declaration of a State of Emergency and a nationwide lockdown without providing food for citizens.
Chief Allen said though the declaration of the State of Emergency is in good fate to protect Liberians and reduce spread of the deadly COVID-19, for citizens to stay home, government should begin to pay Civil Servants across the country.
Speaking to this paper Wednesday, April 8, via mobile phone, he warned that those doubting the existence of the Corona virus in Liberia are people in dreamland, noting that such behavior could lead to rapid spread the virus.
Similarly, River Gee County Senator ConmanyWesseh said a State Emergency is normally declared where there is a clear presence of danger, amounting to war.
However, he notes that the President left out or ignore some key issues that could help to keep Liberians at home and that measures following the declaration are not clear.
Speaking to the NewDawn via mobile phone yesterday in Monrovia, Senator Wesseh, a stalwart of the former ruling Unity Party, said nobody would like to stay home and die with starvation, saying, There is something our people can say; die be died”, meaning if they should die during the crisis, it shouldn’t be of starvation.
Senator Wesseh argued that President Weah failed to address food and medications for the citizenry during the three weeks of State of Emergency.
He also highlighted that a State of Emergency is declared when the legislature shall be in session and if the legislature had taken break, the President shall recall the legislature within 72 hours for special session until the State of Emergency is over.
He explained that crafters of the 1986 Constitution of Liberia were aware that in a State of Emergency, lot of things happen and the legislature is needed to be in the know and give support where needed.He also asked the President to announce tax break for businesses and workers to enable them have enough money to stay home.
Sen. Wesseh further reflected that President Weah’s declaration did not contain such mandate to recall the Legislature from Easter break.President Weah declared a State of Emergency here Wednesday, April 8, including a nationwide lockdown, as part of latest measures to fight the COVID-19.
“Therefore, by the authority granted to me under Articles 85, 86, 87 and 88 of the Liberian Constitution and after due consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate as required by law, I, George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, hereby, declare a State of Emergency to exist in and throughout the Republic of Liberia for a period of three weeks renewable until the threat to Liberia from the COVID-19 Virus no longer exists”, he declared.
Article 86 (a) of the Constitution reads,” The President may, in consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, proclaim and declare and the existence of a state of emergency in the Republic or any part thereof.
Acting pursuant thereto, the President may suspend or affect certain rights, freedoms and guarantees contained in this Constitution and exercise such other emergency powers as may be necessary and appropriate to take care of the emergency, subject, however, to the limitations contained in this Chapter.
86 (b) says, “A state of emergency may be declared only where there is a threat or outbreak of war or where there is civil unrest affecting the existence, security or well-being of the Republic, amounting to a clear and present danger.”By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Jonathan Browne