The Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) has described as a “misstep and poor political judgment” the Liberian President's declaration of a national State of Emergency.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Wednesday declared a “state of emergency” and called for legislative support in accordance with the 1986 Constitution.
Addressing a news conference Thursday in Monrovia, IREDD Senior Policy Director Dan T. Saryee, noted that the declaration neither offers any results-oriented solution to the economic reasons cited nor does it provide any direct solution to the eradication of Ebola from “poverty stricken Liberians.”
The international research group pointed out that the government’s decision will only exacerbate hardship, escalate vulnerability of the people to hunger and death by curable diseases (malaria, typhoid, diarrhea, etc.) and further deny the country of much needed revenues.
In fact, the consequence that comes with a state of emergency is comparable to shooting oneself in the leg, Saryee said.
The research institute believes that the government's pronouncement is a clear indication that all activities including the operations of concessions, plantations, international NGOs, businesses and market places are hereby “shut down.”
IREDD described the President’s decision as a “sad and unprecedented action that demonstrates no iota of good leadership, intended to raise untimely alarm to position Liberia for a handsome share of the funds to fight Ebola in the sub-region.”
In finding solution to the spread of Ebola IREDD recommended: “that the National Legislature should deny the approval of the state of emergency required of them by Article 88 of the Liberian Constitution. Government should urgently take action to prescribe motivational packages such as benefits in insurance, death benefits including education benefits for children of affected medical practitioners, to ensure they are motivated to make the ultimate sacrifices as required to fight the pandemic. Government should take concrete actions to re-open all the referral health centers by ensuring that the requisite manpower, technicians, logistics needed to run various testing at these centers are available and accessible.”
Relative to the militarization of communities and highways, Saryee asserted that said action was unnecessary, adding; “This only scares away investors.”
On the way forward, he said, government should establish testing centers at every entry point, to ensure that traveler, pedestrians and other commuters are properly screened to prevent the spread of the virus.