They made this statement during a press conference when making their stance known on this approval by the Speaker of Parliament.
Reading the press statement, Hon. Sirajin Rollings-Kamara of Constituency 127 said that section 29(3) of the 1991 Constitution provides that such proclamations must be approved by a vote of two-thirds of Members of Parliament present, stating further that the sitting was abruptly adjourned to Tuesday 26th February 2019 without votes being taken as prescribed by the constitution and Parliament Standing Orders.
“While we applaud President Julius Maada Bio in his determination to combat sexual crimes, it is the legislative competence of Parliament to make laws for good governance,” Hon. Rollings-Kamara said, adding that they made their position abundantly clear in the Well of Parliament that they support the fight against rape and all forms of sexual violence against women and girls but that they do not think such a move should amount to a State of Emergency proclamation by the president.
According to the APC press statement, they hold the view that such measures are not beyond the reach of the President, maintaining that it can be adequately achieved through the strengthening of the Sexual Offences Laws and their enforcement followed by stronger regulations.
The statement further said: “If President Bio wishes to have Parliament amend the Sexual Offences Law and enact stricter laws and regulations, he should commence the initiative rather than pre-empt Parliament by proclaiming a State of Public Emergency.”
Hon. Sirajin Rollings-Kamara also disclosed that a State of Public Emergency may provide temporary measures but it cannot stop a scourge of sexual offences in the country in the long run when the period of the emergency expires.