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Sierra Leone News: Parliament don’t have the power to declare State of Emergency – Clerk of Parliament

Hon. Ibrahim SaseyResponding to rumors about Parliament planning to declare a state of emergency were laid to rest by the Clerk of Parliament, Hon. Ibrahim Sesay yesterday, 30 Wednesday 2017. Rumours were rampant over social media, in public transportation, at ataya bases and other places.
The Clerk of Parliament explained that there is no problem for Members of Parliament to hold closed-door meetings especially when the House wants to discuss something that is not in the public domain.
He stated that any information that has to do with the reputation of Parliament such meetings are exclusively for Members of Parliament and not the press or any other group, adding that people should try to verify any rumour relating to Parliament instead of misleading the public.
“It will be nice for members of the public especially journalists to become acquainted with the country’s Constitution, which is very clear on who should announce a State of Emergency,” citing Section 29, Sub-section 1, that states:
“Whenever in the opinion the opinion of the President a state of emergency is imminent or has commenced the President may at any time by proclamation, which shall be published in the gazette.”
Hon. Ibrahim Sesay furthered that Parliament only comes in after the proclamation by the President for ratification, which is their responsibility as the Legislative arm of government.
On the issue of dissolving Parliament, the Clerk maintained that Section 85, Sub-section 1 of the 1991 Constitution states:
“Parliament shall stand dissolved at the expiration of a period of five years commencing from the date of its first sitting after a general election.”
According to the Clerk of Parliament, “No one is closing Parliament. When the time arrives – come December 7 – it would close itself automatically as stipulated by law.
By Alhaji M. Kamara
Thursday August 31, 2017.

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