Sierra Leone Parliament descends into ugly brawl and fist fights as opposition MPs refuse to debate proportional represention laws

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 November 2022:

Last Wednesday 23rd November 2022 was another sad chapter in the history of Sierra Leone’s Parliament, after members of Parliament went on the rampage, hurling objects and punching one another as the Speaker – Dr Abass Bundu, lost control in an ill-tempered debate over new electoral laws that could govern presidential and general elections next June.

The Public Elections (District Block Proportional Representation System) Regulations 2022 and the Public Elections (Local Councils Proportional Representation System) Regulations 2022 were about to be presented to MPs for debate by the Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice – Umaru Napoleon Koroma, when violence broke out.

The District Block Proportional Representation System Regulations 2022 and the Local Councils Proportional Representation Regulation 2022, could be included in the country’s electoral laws in the next seventeen days, or until otherwise annulled by two-thirds of votes cast by Members of Parliament to become law.

Section 170, sub-section 7 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, says that: “Any orders, rules or regulations made by any person or authority pursuant to a power conferred in that behalf by this Constitution or any other law: shall be laid before Parliament; shall be published in the Gazette on or before the day they are so laid before Parliament; shall come into force at the expiration of a period of twenty-one days of being so laid unless Parliament, before the expiration of the said period of twenty-one days, annuls any such orders, rules or regulations by the votes of not less than two-thirds of the Members of Parliament”.

Fighting broke out when opposition APC members of Parliament refused to debate the changes and called on the Speaker to defer the proceedings to allow sufficient time for MPs to study the new regulation. But the Speaker refused, and violence ensued.

 

Police were called into Parliament as they were in 2018 to forcefully remove opposition MPs from the Wells of Parliament, as ugly scenes were played out on national television, which then allowed the Bills to be finally laid before MPs.

According to the Clerk of Parliament, the destruction caused by the rioting MPs was valued at Three Hundred and Eighty Thousand New Leones. This is what the Clerk said in a written Report published yesterday:

 

3 Comments

  1. We have seen brawling in other countries’ legislative nerve centres but for Sierra Leone’s case i am very very concerned and worried. The political temperature is past a boiling point. The omens are not good. By all indications, we are entering inflection points reminiscent of the pre-1967, 1991 and 1992 imbroglios to mention just a few of the momentous events in our chequered history.

    Personally, i believe as i did in December 1988 and 1991, that the present status quo is unsustainable. When all hell breaks eventually loose, do not count on the present leadership to restore calm and sanity. He was after all part and parcel of a regime in the 90s which failed woefully to justify its raison de’tre. Rather, the former NPRC regime’s actions and omissions exacerbated and prolonged the hostilities with the rebellious RUF.

    Is history repeating itself? By any performance metric – be it exchange rate (300% devaluation), inflation, economic growth, unemployment, cost of living, de-industrialisation, national cohesion, political temperature, political violence – Sierra Leone’s woes have deepened. If there is anything to learn from our recent past, it is that the state has no monopoly over violence, violence breeds violence and security gives way to conspiracy.

  2. I personally believe that this continuous display of BARBARISM is well planned, financed and orchestrated by the “Tolomgbo wing” headed by the former lifetime leader of the Alakie People’s Congress (APC) party. They have been trying unsuccessful “to make our country ungovernable” and hoping to scare potential investors since the voters kicked them out of the State House in 2018.
    Few months before the 2018 general elections, the then opposition SLPP party faced this same challenges with NEC , but they choose to handled the problems gracefully by following the processes and procedures of our Honorable House of Parliament in the below link: https://www.thesierraleonetelegraph.com/sierra-leone-parliament-edges-towards-postponement-of-presidential-and-general-elections/

  3. I think the Members of the Sierra Leone parliament should take a leaf of how we debate our political points of views in this world respected on line newspaper The Sierra Leone Telegraph. Since I stumbled on this platform , I have always stressed if our country was ethically , and professionally governed the way Mr Thomas and his team perform their duties as good Sierra Leoneans and proprietors, and as our nation’s gatekeepers on how we get a balanced and accurate opinions of ordinary people’s feelings as expressed on this platform , without reaching for your fellow Sierra leonean’s throat because they hold a different point of view, our country’s democratic credentials will markedly improve.

    The scenes in the wells of the Sierra Leone parliament is a disgrace .And is not only an insult to the intelligence of ordinary Sierra Leoneans that voted them there in the first place , it shows their contempt and lack of respect for the democratic mandate given to them. I know parliamentary privilege exist but this hooliganism behavior from our MPs deserved to be sanction either by suspension, or withholding their salaries for this month .This is not what they are paid to do.We didn’t elect boxers in Parliament and certainly the parliamentary estate has no boxing gloves and a boxing ring .If this MPs are trained fighters , why not arrange a national fight at Saika Stevens Stadium so we the watching pubic can mark their performance in the ring .Thanks to these Morons our country has been reduced to the laughing stock of the world.

    If the ruling party put forward a Bill on PR , all they have to do is debate the matter in a civilized way with out trying to knock out some MPs teeth and dislocate their nose .But this is Sierra Leone where fist fights are the only way we settle our political differences .I feel sorry for the female Members of parliament.I think we should just have a fifty -fifty representation of the sexes in parliament to avoid this sort of ugly scenes .What is going on in their heads .? More women in parliament means more gown ups not some little street boys that accidentally finds themselves in position of power .Men starts to grow and mature at the age of forty .These MPs appears to be in their Mothher’s pram throwing tantrums .They are truly acting like attention seekers .Has some one got the feeding bottle ?

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