Monday, April 19, 2021

Are there Emergency Powers Regulations?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

The Constitution empowers the president to declare a state of public emergency under section 34 of the Constitution. However, it does not empower the president to make laws and decrees by radio broadcast.

First of all, for that declaration to become law it must be published in the Gazette. Secondly, section 35 of the Constitution makes it a requirement for an Act known as the Emergency Powers Act to be enacted or relied on if in existence to make regulations that must also be published in the Gazette for enforcement.

An Emergency Powers Act has been in force since 1965 and provides for the issuing of regulations by the president after the declaration of a state of emergency. These regulations are supposed to be published in the Gazette before they could have the force of law. Foroyaa is yet to get copies of the regulations from GPPC and cannot guide the readers to know their full content.

The law enforcement officers should rely on the regulations and not just words broadcast on TV and radio. The local government authorities should examine what is happening on the ground and feed the central government on what is working and what is not. It is the duty of a government to protect the health and welfare of its citizens. Hence there should be a complementarity between regulations to protect health and measures to provide for the general welfare of citizens. The National Assembly should prepare itself to meet within 21 days to review and decide whether to extend the state of emergency which will come to end within 21 days.

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