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Sierra Leone Parliament Ratifies State of Public Emergency

Sierra Leone Parliament Ratifies State of Public Emergency

Freetown, 7th August, 2014 – The House of Parliament has today ratified the State of Public Emergency throughout Sierra Leone as declared by H E the President and published in the Sierra Leone Gazette on 31st July, 2014.

This State of Emergency as per Section 29 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone (1991) was necessitated by the recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). EVD previously broke out in the Ivory Coast, and earlier this year, in Guinea and later, Liberia before its equallydeadly attack on Sierra Leone in March, via Kailahun District, Eastern Province.

The Leader of the House, Hon. Ibrahim R. Bundu made the following proclamation:

Pursuant to section 29 (3) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No. 6 of 1991, I move that this Honourable House ratify the declaration of a State of Public Emergency made by His Excellency the President and published in the Supplement to the Sierra Leone Gazette, vol. CXLV No.41 dated 31st July, 2014.

At the end of the sitting, MP for Lunsar/Marampa, Hon. Isata Kabia who passionately contributed to today’s debate, was in somber mood from news of two constituents who reportedly, had just died as suspected cases of the EVD. Contributors to the debate also included the following Honourable Members: Chief Whip Claude Kamanda, Patrick Foya of 001, Kailahun; J B Mansaray; Mabinty Funna (Chair, Health Committee); PC VBS Kebbie; Augustine Torto (Chair, Foreign Affairs); Emma Kowa; Mustapha Brima; Helen Kuyembeh; A. Manly-Spaine (Chair, Legislative Committee); Deputy Speaker Chernor R.M. Bah and Alhaji Ansumana Kai-Kai, the Deputy Minority Leader.

Government Ministers (Joined by John Benjamin) in rapt attentio

Government Ministers (Joined by John Benjamin) in rapt attention

Rounding up the debate before re-stating the motion, the House Leader affirmed that Ebola is not a disease to be contained but to be eradicated. Members then voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Presidential proclamation.

MPs had turned out in large numbers to this special sitting, breaking their holiday (parliamentary recess) to ratify the Presidential declaration. The EVD is one of those issues which have galvanized parliamentary unity as citizens’ lives are at stake. EVD update from the Ministry of Health says that so far, 223 persons are confirmed dead, with cumulative confirmed cases of 631.

This special sitting of the House saw MPs in a very eager mood to join the debate and make their voices heard. It was witnessed by a large turnout of Ministers, other senior public functionaries and members of the public and civil society in a sitting described by the Deputy Speaker as “very, very important.”

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