Liberia: Legislature Fails to Convene to Endorse Pres. Weah's Announced State of Emergency

Monrovia — Members of the Legislature failed to meet on Thursday as was requested by President George Weah to endorse the State of Emergency he announced on Wednesday as part of measures to break the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

As required by the Constitution in Article Article 88, "the President shall, immediately upon the declaration of a state of emergency, but not later than seven days thereafter, lay before the Legislature at its regular session or at a specially convened session, the facts and circumstances leading to such declaration.

"The Legislature shall within seventy-two hours, by joint resolution voted by two-thirds of the membership of each house, decide whether the proclamation of a state of emergency is justified or whether the measures taken thereunder are appropriate."

However, legislative sources informed FrontPageAfrica there is serious disagreement and disenchantment amongst members of the House of Representatives about the way the leadership is handling the information between the Executive and the House.

According to some lawmakers, they had no clue of the state of emergency or the full details and as the leadership was yet to call members for a meeting. "According to the Constitution, we must be in session during the duration of the statement of emergency. We are going to be held responsible once again if anything was to go wrong," a lawmaker said.

As the President's announcement on the state radio, he had held discussion with the Speaker and the President Pro-Tempore of the Senate on his decision to declare a state of emergency and therefore urged them to convene an extraordinary session to endorse the state of emergency. This was disclosed by Montserrado County District 10 Representative Yekeh Kolubah on Thursday on a radio talkshow.

Rep. Kolubah said he would vote against the state of emergency because the Executive has failed to address the economic constraints Liberians face.

Senator Abraham Darius Dillon of Montserrado County also disclosed on Facebook that the lawmakers failed to convene on Thursday because the Legislature is officially on Easter break and they were not formally informed in keeping with protocols.

"Upon formal receipt of the justification and measures for declaring a state of emergency, the Legislature will assemble to review the measures and decide whether to modify or revoke. (Article 88)! It must be for the common good and we shall play our role constructively. We are waiting," Senator Dillon stated on Facebook.

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