Members of Parliament in Sierra Leone fought during an Emergency Parliamentary Sitting summoned by President Julius Maada Bio at the Bintumani International Conference Center.
The fighting happened between Opposition Members of Parliament, All People’s Congress, Sierra Leone People’s Party Members of Parliament, and the Sierra Leone Police over a dispute on the legality of the Emergency sitting summoned by the President.
The Leader of the Opposition, Chernor Maju Bah, said that there is no dispute and that the President has the power to summon Emergency Sitting of Parliament, however, due process was not followed according to Standing Order (SO) 4(3) of Parliament.
According to the Standing Orders of Parliament, SO 4(3) (a) state that “In the case of any emergency of which notice is given to the Speaker by the President, the Speaker will then have to consult with both the majority and minority party leaders of the house before scheduling the emergency meeting in this case sitting.”
“The speaker of Parliament did not consult the Majority and Minority Leader of Parliament together with the Clerk of Parliament. Apart from SO 4(3), there are other Standing Orders and part of the Constitution that they have breached.” Bah said.
The Speaker of the Parliament, Dr. Abass Bundu, argued that the proclamation of an Emergency Parliamentary Sitting was proclaimed by the president as required by section 86 (1) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone.
Section 86 (1) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone states that “The President may at any time summon a meeting of Parliament.”
The Leader of the National Ground Coalition party at Parliament, Kandeh Kolleh Yumkelleh, said that the Standing Orders are very clear and the Speaker of Parliament was also wrong.
“This is not correct, this is not for today but in the future, all these violations would be used by another leader. If the Leader of the Opposition has raised a procedural matter, don’t try to bulldoze it.” Said Yumkelleh. “Secondly, even after all of this had happened, how can you deny the opposition the opportunity to speak? This is where we say our democracy is at threat.”
This is the second time parliamentarians have resorted to violence and fights since President Bio was elected president in March 2018.