Coronavirus – President Bio of Sierra Leone declares a state of public emergency

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 March 2020:

President Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone has this afternoon declared a state of public emergency in response to the growing threat of the coronavirus that has engulfed the whole world, killing tens of thousands of people.

Sierra Leone is yet to record a single case, whilst neighbouring Guinea and Liberia have confirmed cases.

Speaking in a tv and radio broadcast, the president warns – “We will continue to deploy the armed forces and Police, as necessary, to enforce compliance with all public health directives.”

This is what he said: “Fellow citizens. By the authority vested in me under Subsection 1 of Section 29 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991, Act No. 6 of 199, regarding the declaration of a state of public emergency, it is my opinion that a situation exists which, if allowed to continue, will lead to a state of emergency in Sierra Leone.

“The Corona virus disease is a highly infectious disease that constitutes a public emergency of international concern that has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

“The rapid global spread of the corona virus poses great risk to human life and can cause enormous socio-economic disruption in Sierra Leone. This situation therefore requires effective measures to prevent, protect, and curtail the spread of the corona virus diseases in Sierra Leone.

“Now, therefore, I, Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Supreme Head of State, Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Sierra Leone, having regard to the threat that the corona virus disease poses to the lives of the people and the economy of Sierra Leone, and the need to take effective measures to prevent, protect, and curtail the spread of the disease throughout Sierra Leone, do hereby, by this Proclamation, declare that a State of Public Emergency exists in the whole of the Republic of Sierra Leone with effect from today the 24th Day of March 2020 for a period of twelve months.

“As I have stated before, I reaffirm the determination of my government to do everything necessary to protect the life of every Sierra Leonean. This is not a lockdown and nobody must use this as an excuse to hoard goods, hike prices, or engage in acts of lawlessness. This public emergency is not meant to make the lives of Sierra Leoneans difficult or unbearable.

“We will continue to deploy the armed forces and Police, as necessary, to enforce compliance with all public health directives.

“We believe that the actions that we take as a Government, will have an impact for the well-being of our beloved nation. I thank you. God Bless the Republic of Sierra Leone.” (END).

14 Comments

  1. Can Parliament reverse the President’s State of Public Emergency to become a State of Public Health Emergency? The Coronavirus pandemic warrants a public health emergency and not a state of public emergency. I hope someone out there with constitutional law background will help.

  2. “I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants, and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made dupes of designing men, and become the instrument of their own undoing. Make them intelligent, and they will be vigilant; give them the means of detecting wrong, and they they will apply the remedy.” These people are not your friends, but not only that they care not about you. Yes, I’m talking to you, the suffering man/woman, who can barely afford a life worth two dollars a day. The sooner you come to realize this the better.

  3. No one will ever go against the powers vested in the head of State by the constitution to carry out his job to protect the people of Sierra Leone. To be honest, I don’t know why the President went alone declaring this State of Public Emergency. He should have done so with consulting parliament. Any draconian measures to prevent Coronavirus from killing our people and destroying our economy must be accepted and supported by all. The only concerns I have is how the process is carried out.

    Also, I hope President Bio and his Administration will not use this emergency to intimidate and crack down on the opposition in the name of Coronavirus. However, I believe, our opposition will step in if the government or President Bio is misusing his powers. Also, I am very happy to hear the President say, it’s not a lockdown. Because, you can’t lockdown the country without providing food and supporting your citizens. Cracking down on anyone trying to hoard any commodity, increasing prices of basic commodities or even attempting to create an environment for scarcity of anything, must be dealt with.

    I would like the President himself, his Ministers and government officials not to have more than two bags/month of rice in their homes. Also, the number of rice must be subject to the number in each family. More than what I have mentioned, will be hoarding of essential commodities. The police/army must step in if that happens. The same principle must apply to other essential commodities. This will be an example of good leadership and good governance

    I disagree with President Bio for maintaining the public emergency for a year. Why not declare the public emergency for three months and subject it to review? That’s why, it’s always a good idea for President Bio to consult parliament before making such decisions. If he had consulted parliament, I’m certain, parliament would have done things differently and better. Failing to do so, may be interpreted by some, as dodgy political dirty tricks. God help President Bio carry out his public emergency declaration with honesty. By the way Mr. President, only Vigorous Testing will get rid of Coronavirus out of Sierra Leone. Think about that.

  4. Sierra Leone so far has not recorded any coronavirus infection. I think it is just a matter of time before it enters our country because there are so many things we are doing wrong,especially in the area of transportation.Let us take for example the Ferry services between Freetown and Lungi,passengers are packed like sardines,so the 6 feet apart rule is not observed.

    I don’t have any photos to buttress my argument, but maybe the Editor of the Telegraph can send someone to take pictures of how the ferries are packed to capacity.It will take only one passenger to begin the ball rolling.Is the government going to stop the ferry services for now,or going to reduce the number of passengers per travel? I don’t know whether the hand washings and sanitizers will suffice. Checking someones temperature is not reliable if he or she is not acutely infected.

    • You’re correct! It’s just not possible to make a drastic preventive action happen in any of our African countries! We all wish a magic wand could contribute!

  5. What does that mean declaring an emergency yet dont say what has to be done to control? Does that mean no flights in out for 12 months? Also what is going to happen to the hundreds of tourist stuck in emergency measures?

  6. What measures has he put in place to implement people’s daily lives who are already struggling to survive? What is the timing of making it feasible? May God and Mother Nature protect us!

    • Thank you very much Aissa, Man from abroad and Mr. Amara Conteh for your candid comments. I agree with you people one hundred percent. Sierra Leone is the only country in the world where the President declares a State of Public Emergency before Lock Down because of the Coronavirus. Also, we are the only country declaring a State of Public Emergency instead of a State of Public Health Emergency. I really wonder the type of calibre of people behind President Bio has. Frankly speaking, it’s all chaos and dodgy.

  7. A mere Appeal to Authority is a logical fallacy. This guy is not a virologist, nor is he a medical doctor of any kind. He’s giving out information that was instructed to him by the overlords, by way of WHO – a self-acclaimed, self-renowned medical expert organization of the world, but yet he speaks as if he knows exactly what is going on. He has no clue of what he’s talking about. Also, this uproar that we’re being pushed to take for face value cant really be about saving lives. Because from my understanding our people have been dying exponentially for years.

    Aren’t we suppose to have one of the highest birth mortality rate in the world? If so, then where were these leaders at, to declare a state of emergency, so as to seek preventive measures to keep our young mothers and their children from dying? What, is it only become a matter of emergency when the overlords assert that it is? Is this what we have unanimously settled for? I’m so disappointed.

    I’m disappointed that I’m part of a biological group that consists of nothing but cowardly men. Men who suffer from the worst case of xenomania, to the point that they’ve obliviously forgotten who they are.

  8. I believe Sierra Leone is the only country with 12 month public emergency around the world. Why not longer – up to the next election?

    • My question exactly. Why 12 months. That seems excessive. I would think that 3 months in the first instance would be fine.

  9. Necessary move considering the current situation we have at hand, however, I have reservations for the 12 months elapse time frame. My hope is the rule of law and democratic principles will be adhered as the military are brought in to enforce whatever new measures that will be instituted to mitigate the impact of this pandemic.

  10. Good steps Sir. May God continue to guide and protect you. I strongly believe this will help in your efforts to prevent and curtail this global menace.

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