National Assembly Rejects Motion to Extend State of Public Emergency


By: Kebba AF Touray

A motion to extend a State of Public Emergency to 45 days has been rejected by Parliamentarians on Tuesday after twenty-three out of 43 members voted against it.
The motion was for the State of Public Emergency to start effective 15th July 2020.

The motion was seconded by member for Banjul North, who urged Parliament to consider the extension. However, the Deputy Speaker, Momodou LK Sanneh, put the question to vote for members to consider the debate on the extension. 20 lawmakers voted for the consideration of the extension and 23 voted against the consideration of the extension.

Before the voting, Minister of Justice, Dawda Jallow, in accordance with section 34(5) (a) (i) of the 1997 constitution, tabled a motion for the extension of the State of Public Emergency for a period of 45 days effective 15th July 2020.

Justice Minister Jallow also moved that the Assembly affirm the period of emergency regulations made in the motion in accordance with section 5(2) of the Emergency Powers Act, effective Wednesday 15th July 2020.

He reminded the Assembly that on 18th March 2020, in global response to COVID-19, President Barrow pursuant to section 34(1)(a) of the 1997 constitution, declared by proclamation published in the Gazette, that the situation exists in the Gambia, which if allowed to continue, will lead to State of Public Emergency.

He said, “in response to increased threats of the pandemic, the President on the 26th March 2020, acting under section 34(1)(B) of the 1997 constitution, issued a second proclamation, declaring that a state of public emergency exists in the whole of the Gambia”.

He continued this was followed by a second declaration by the President pursuant to section 34 (6) of the 1997 constitution, the latest of which was made on the 8th of July 2020”.

He said between the first proclamation to date, the number of viral infection have dramatically increased globally and in the county.

He said according to WHO the total number of infections globally, stands at 13 million with over 50 thousand deaths. In the Gambia, the number of infection has risen from one to 64 with 3 deaths. The number of cases continues to rise and even countries which have eased their COVID-19 restrictions, have reinforced some restrictions.