EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: Deputies are continuing their debate on the government motion to extend presidential decree of a 7-day state of public emergency to 90 days -3 months- but the Assembly’s standing-committee on human rights and constitutional matters is considering reducing it to 45 days.
Last Friday, president Adama Barrow decreed a 7-day state of public emergency as the global health-threatening disease -coronavirus- continue to surge around the world with Gambia registering four cases with one death.
Attorney General and minister of justice, Abubacarr M Tambedou, tabled the government motion before the law makers on Thursday, but it was referred to the Assembly’s standing-committee on human rights and constitutional matters.
It is excepted that deputies will finalise their decision on whether to approve the government proposal today Friday or the standing committee’s 45 days suggestion. The major consideration of the majority of the parliamentarians is the negative impact the government’s planned 90 days public emergency extension will cause on the lives of their electorates.
Vice chairperson of the standing committee on human rights and constitutional matters and member for Wuli East, Suwaibou Touray read the committee’s report, saying the motion was referred to them for scrutiny and advice.
He said immediately after the Thursday adjourned debate, the committee met and invited the Attorney General and Minister of justice and Minister of Finance to answer some issues and concerns, including whether the proclamation made by the president has followed the due process; where it was published in the government gazette and whether it is justifiable to extend the public emergency.
Member for Tumana, Foday NM Drammeh said 90-days extension of the state of public emergency is not feasible considering the number of public outcry. He said must of the electorates usually keep two to three months food in their stores and if the public emergency has to be extended will negatively affect food security.
“We should not capitalize on the system to enrich ourselves during this period. We must make sure that every single money directed to the fight against coronavirus is put in the right direction and not directed to individual pockets,’’ Mr Drammeh said.
Muhammed Magassy of Basse argued that the president’s earlier state of public emergency on the restriction of what he called non-essential services is not clear, saying to him, everything is essential.