Although the ruling APC government insist the continuation of the State of Public Health Emergency (SOE) is vital to the reminder of the Ebola fight, Sierra Leoneans from all shades of opinion have called for the lifting of the law to allow normalcy to return to the country more than a year after the Ebola outbreak.
The State of Emergency itself was not renewed by Parliamentarians on Friday as expected. It follows a high level meeting between President Koroma and opposition politicians led by the SLPP which had issued a statement condemning any prolongation of the law.
At that State House meeting on Thursday, it was agreed that the tabling of the SOE be deferred to tomorrow, Tuesday to allow opposition politicians to consult with their membership. The SLPP’s position on the SOE seems to have gained public support because Sierra Leoneans think the law which has helped to crippled all economic activities was no longer necessary.
Public disenchantment against the SOE has been expressed in radio talk shows around the country where even some APC supporters have openly opposed to its prolongation. “Initially the law was very very necessary but for now, I don’t think we should continue with it”, an APC local official told Global Times in an interview. As of the week end, the country has recorded zero Ebola infection for nearly a week. And with only two Ebola patients at the treatment centre and fifteeen at a holding centre, there are growing indications that the eradication of the disease is neigh.
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This has made the prolongation of the law not only unnecessary but cynical in the eyes of the ordinary man. The main opposition SLPP has alleged the ruling APC was seeking the continuation of the law to prolong it stay on power beyond the official term limit and to to silence the opposition. Although the SOE has aided the fight against the Ebola Virus, to many citizens however it is the proper coordination and prudent management of the disease that is crucial.
Neighbouring Liberia lifted the SOE more than four months before reaching zero, while Guinea, another badly hit country did not impose any SOE at all. At the meeting with opposition politicians today at State House, it is expected that the public disenchantment against the SOE will be a strong case for the discontinuation of the law.
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The opposition politicians, particularly the SLPP are expected to re-emphasize it calls for the removal of the law in that meeting with President Koroma. Since the imposition of the SOE a year ago, small businesses around the country have been crippled making life difficult for the ordinary man. SLPP supporters, it can be recalled have been beaten up arrested and charged to court under the SOE.
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