Thursday, January 28, 2021

How long will the state of public emergency last?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Section 34 of the Constitution empowers the president to declare a state of public emergency and section 35 calls for the enactment of an Act spelling out the emergency powers that could be exercised in a period of the emergency.

The Emergency Powers Act spells out the powers that the President could exercise through the publication of emergency regulations. The regulations may curtail the exercise of certain fundamental rights. However, whatever is provided for in the regulation should be reasonably justifiable in a democratic society.

Foroyaa will trace the Gazettes containing the regulations and guide the nation to know their content. The Inspector General of Police, being the custodian of the regulation should also know and educate the law enforcement agencies to know the limits in the exercise of their function. We are being informed by those whose daily means of survival lies in being vendors, taxi drivers, mechanics and so on and so forth, of their inability to earn an income due to suspension of their activities or limitations imposed on them. Mechanics have claimed that they have people’s transports to fix but have been forbidden by security personnel to open their workshops. Vendors are claiming that they have to close their shops even though they are selling essential goods. In short people are generally confused and are engaged in trial and error in terms of continuing to run their businesses or closing them. There is no uniformity in action because of the absence of uniformity in understanding what is broadcast over the electronic media.

It is important for all citizens to know that a proclamation read over GRTS does not automatically become law without publication in the Gazette. Secondly all regulations must be reasonably justifiable in a democratic society. Thirdly there must be uniformity in enforcing the regulations.

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Foroyaa will monitor these three processes to assist the public.

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