7 August 2014

Liberia: Ellen Declares State of Emergency

Photo: Boakai Fofana/AllAfrica
Women in Monrovia hold a prayer gathering against Ebola by the roadside while trying to not touch each other.

In continuation of the Ebola fight in Liberia, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has declared a State of Emergency, effective Wednesday, August 6, 2014.

The President's latest pronouncement is in addition to several measures already announced here, including closure of borders as well as formation of a National Taskforce chaired by her to contain the Ebola Virus Disease, which has killed nearly 300 persons, including doctors, nurses, and government official and ordinary citizens.

The government has also announced an initial contribution of US$500 million towards the Ebola eradication campaign. Article 86 (a) of the Constitution of Liberia gives the President the power to make such declaration in the face of danger over the State.

Article 86 (a) sates: "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."

The second paragraph of the article 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. President Sirleaf had described the Ebola outbreak in the country as a national health crisis that demands the attention of the government and the entire Republic.

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