In the wake of assertions from Montserrado County Senator Abraham Darius Dillon that the Legislature did not meet in session on Thursday to deliberate on the presidential decree proclaiming a State of Emergency to tackle the deadly Coronavirus pandemic, basically because the Legislature was not formally informed in keeping with protocols about the convening of a Joint Session to endorse the State of Emergency by Joint Resolution, the Government of Liberia has clarified that President Weah did inform the Legislature.
The Minister of Information, Eugene Lenn Nagbe, who is the official spokesperson of the Government of Liberia, clarified to this paper that the President weah wrote the Speaker of the House of Representatives prior to the declaration of the State of Emergency on April 8, 2020.
Minister Eugene Nagbe, making the clarification, particularly referencing President Weah’s SOE declaration on April 8, 2020 when the president stated thus: “Therefore, by the Authority granted to me under Articles 85, 86, 87, and 88 of the Liberian Constitution, and after due consultation with the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, as required by law, I, George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, hereby declare a State of Emergency, to exist in and throughout the Republic of Liberia, for a period of three (3) weeks, renewable until the threat to Liberia from the Covid-19 virus no longer exists…
As a first step under the powers hereby granted me under this State of Emergency, the Speaker and the President Pro-Tempore are to convene the 54th Legislature in Joint Session on tomorrow, Thursday, the 9th of April, 2020 for justification and endorsement of this State of Emergency by Joint Resolution, in accordance with Article 88 of the Liberian Constitution.”
Minister Nagbe indicated further that President Weah would never breach established protocols of the Legislature, with the President himself having once served as a senator before ascending to the helm of the presidency.
Montserrado Senator Abraham Darius Dillon in a social media podcast Thursday, following the presidential proclamation of a State of Emergency, stated that although the President can, on his or her own, declare a state of emergency for no later than seven days, the State of Emergency ceases to continue without two-third approval of both Houses of the National the Legislature after a week.
Senator Dillon was reacting to public expectation that the Legislature would have met Thursday, April 9, 2020 to act on the State of Emergency as imposed by the President George Manneh Weah
Sen. Dillon further informed that the Legislature did not meet in session Thursday for two reasons: firstly, that the Legislature is officially on Easter Break, and, secondly that the Legislature was not formally informed in keeping with protocols as was publicly announced by the President on Wednesday.
“So, when the formal protocols are met, Legislature will assemble and fulfil our constitutional duty in this regard,” Senator Dillon concluded.