Sierra Leone Parliament: The state of public health emergency and regulations

Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 April 2020:

Since His Excellency the President, Julius Maada Bio declared a State of Public Health Emergency (SPHE) on March 24, 2020, there has been a plethora of orders from individual state functionaries and various institutions of government restricting our fundamental rights and freedoms, ostensibly to contain the spread of COVID-19 virus.

Whilst some of these measures will no doubt help the fight against COVID-19, it is important to emphasize that our national constitution is very clear that such orders (under an emergency) must be orderly regulated. Section 29(5) states that:

“During a period of public emergency, the President may make such regulations and take such measures as appear to him to be necessary or expedient for the purpose of maintaining and securing peace, order and good governance in Sierra Leone or any part thereof.”

Crucially, Section 170 (7) requires “….such regulations to be gazette and tabled in parliament” for obvious reasons.

However, in addition to the public notice announcing the imposition of the curfew on Kambia district on April 3, 2020, several other press releases and/or public notices have been issued in disparate fashion, including one imposing a nationwide curfew without due regard to Parliament, contrary to the aforesaid provisions of our Constitution.

In light of the above, Government must endeavor to put together the SPHE regulations, properly tabled in Parliament, gazetted and publicized.

This way, the public would be adequately and guided as to what is required of them under the circumstances. This will also help to ensure clarity and certainty in fighting against the pandemic.

Suffice it to say that I am not unsupportive of Government’s efforts to fight this pandemic.

But as done during the successful fight against the Ebola virus epidemic, parliamentarians from all political parties, local councils, traditional and religious leaders as well as civil society actors, must all be brought on board as frontline fighters to ensure that together, we defeat this invisible Coronavirus disease in our country.

However, as we do so, we should endeavor, even in an emergency, to comply fully with our Constitution and respect the fundamental human rights and dignity of our citizens.

I therefore urge our Members of Parliament across the political aisle, to put aside partisan considerations and to do the needful by elevating to the true aspirations of their constituents of checking the excesses of the executive.

God bless Sierra Leone. God bless you all.

About the author

Dr. Samura Mathew W. Kamara is the 2018 Presidential Candidate of the All People’s Congress Party (APC).

6 Comments

  1. Does Samura really know what “state of emergency” means? If he really love his people, he should sensitize them instead of opposing the first gentleman and saviour of our beloved country – Sierra Leone. We should forget hatred, love one another. One love for Maada Bio, one love for Dr Juldeh Jalloh, one love for Samura Kamara and more love for all Sierra Leoneans.

  2. Samura Kamara should have made this statement when his APC party chairman for life unconstitutionally fired his Vice President under the state of emergency at the height of the Ebola crisis. Surprisingly, the lifetime leader of the APC party decided to shove Samura Kamara down the throats of our citizens which they overwhelmingly rejected by electing our current President Maada Bio. My only advice for him is to to join President Bio in sensitizing his supporters about this deadly disease that has the potential of devastating our nation just like the Ebola disease.
    May the Almighty continue to bless President Maada Bio and the citizens Sierra Leone.
    Amen and Ameen.

  3. Is Dr Samura Kamara now donning on sheep’s clothing? His track record, namely, NPRC, Tejan Kabba SLPP, AFRC and Ernest Koroma APC speaks of a wolf. Let him start saying the truth or the facts of his stewardship to the nation for three decades then only some of us may be converted

  4. I like this one. He speaks like a patriot, despite being in the seat of an opposition. Dr. Kamara is always known for the truth. He demonstrated that in the 2018 presidential debate. You remember? We don’t need dysfunctional opponents but proactive ones, like Mr. Kamara. God bless you sir.

  5. YEAH. Two years on after that controversial election results, he still looks presidential and is still a champion. See how he ends his article “God bless Sierra Leone. God bless you all”. A man of God/Allah indeed. Did they hear that? Absolutely. Dr. Samura Kamara is a champion and of course, everyone loves a champion including me. Thank very much Dr. Samura Kamara for blessing our country and everyone of us. God will surely bless you. By the way, your country needs you. Thanks for educating them on constitutional matters. People like you believe in democracy and I believe that, Sierra Leone will never return to the jungle old days. No way for JUNTA autocracy.

    I agree with all what you are saying Dr. Samura Kamara. The Bio Administration is not treating our parliamentarians as grownups in my view. Also, this Administration, time and time again, sidelines our parliament on everything. Even in areas where the administration would have little or no resistance on parliamentary approval. The Administration is failing to understand that, it’s the people who voted the MPs to parliament.

    If the Bio Administration fails to work with Parliament and the opposition, then, it’s failing to work with the people. Therefore, the people will make sure that champions like you occupy State House in 2023. Believe me. It’s going to happen, whether they like it or not. We are going to take the campaign to their doorsteps, with constant political velocity and maximum political acceleration in the not too distant future. Maximum political torque would be applied. Who dares come close? We will make sure, that we hammer their thoughts with election anxiety, thereby living their voters to waver , direction – opposition.

    Finally, I have one question for Dr Samura Kamara which is this – “How is the discussion between Chief Sam Sumana and yourself in terms of the next LEADER and Flag Bearer of the APC for 2023?”. Straight talk there, by the wise, confident and Presidential looking Dr. Samura Kamara. God bless Chief Sam Sumana, Dr. Samura Kamara, Former President Ernest Bai Koroma and the APC. God protect you all from Coronavirus infection.

  6. No matter under which condition, Sierra Leoneans shouldn’t be subjected to any form of indignity in the name of fighting Covid 19. Information reaching us here from Penguia chiefdom says Security Personnel stationed there are subjecting citizens to “colonial form of inhumane treatment like looking at the sun with the naked eyes”. We are looking into this and hope to God it isn’t true. If it is, then we shall let our governors known.

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