A brawl has broken out among the lawmakers of the Sierra leone’s parliament on Wednesday as they debate on the electoral system to allow for equal representation in the 2023 election.
In a video footage going viral on the internet, representatives from the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party can be seen swinging punches and throwing chairs.
Confirming the fight, chairman of parliament’s information committee, Matthew Sahr Nyuma, said, “It was about a statutory instrument that gives a mandate to the electoral commission to make regulations, and our colleagues refused to follow procedures of parliament and they decided to misbehave.”
Some members of parliament were thrown out of the chamber by security, a local journalist who was present told AFP. following the fight, which broke out around 1100 GMT and had quieted down by the afternoon.
According to Nyuma, “The speaker was left with no alternative… We had to call the police to continue our business of the day.”
The West African nation’s electoral commission has recommended switching to a proportional representation system for the June 2023 local and parliamentary elections, set for the same day as the presidential ballot, a move the opposition has opposed.
In the previous week, lawmakers passed legislation to introduce a gender quota in all elected and appointed positions ahead of next year’s election, which had been a major campaign promise by the president, Julius Bio in 2018 who is expected to contest a second term in office in 2023.