As parliamentarians discussed a proposed electoral system amendment to allow for proportional representation in the country’s next year election, a fight broke out in Sierra Leone’s parliament on Wednesday, according to local media.
Representatives from the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) and the government Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) can be seen swinging fists and hurling chairs in camera footage.
Suddenly, what looks to be a sizable decorative vase is thrown across the room and then back again.
The opposition has challenged the electoral commission’s recommendation to use a proportional representation system for the local and parliamentary elections in June 2023, which are scheduled to take place on the same day as the presidential vote.
The government supports the proposal, which needs to be approved by the parliamentary body.
Matthew Sahr Nyuma, chairman of parliament’s information committee, confirmed that a fight had broken out.
“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,” he said.
“The speaker was left with no alternative… We had to call the police to continue our business of the day.”
Following the fight, which broke out around 1100 GMT and had quieted down by the afternoon, some members of parliament were thrown out of the chamber by security.