Al Jazeera: Ebola spotlights Liberians' distrust of their political leaders
by Aaron Leaf
October 14, 2014
The worst Ebola epidemic on record has also become a political crisis in Liberia. On Oct. 1, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf requested a suspension of seven key articles of the constitution as part of the emergency powers meant to further the government’s campaign to contain the virus, which has killed more than 2,000 Liberians and more than 4,000 people so far in this outbreak. She called for, among other measures, the suspension of provisions that stipulate regular and timely elections, protect civil liberties and guard against the appropriation of private property and even one that forbids slavery.
On Oct. 10, the Liberian House of Representatives rejected her request by a vote of 59 to 1, a repudiation of what one lawmaker described as using the Ebola crisis as a cover for a “police state creeping in.” In a joint resolution, the Liberian House and Senate voted unanimously to reject Johnson Sirleaf’s request for indefinite suspension of the midterm senatorial elections scheduled for Oct. 14,insisting that elections be held no later than Dec. 20.