Some Members of Parliament (MP) in the Sierra Leone House of Parliament yesterday 19th April, 2021 rebel at the Emergency Sitting of Parliament summoned by President Julius Maada Bio at the Bintumani Hotel in Freetown.
The parliamentary brouhaha started after the opposition contested the sitting on the hold that it was unconstitutional based on the grounds that they were never consulted and that the period for summoning the meeting was too short, contrary to what is required by Section 86(1) of the country’s Constitution.
Section 86(1) states: “The President may at any time summon a meeting of Parliament. Notwithstanding the provision of Subsection (1), at least twenty per centum of all the Members of Parliament may request a meeting of Parliament and the Speaker shall, within fourteen days after the receipt of that request, summon a meeting of Parliament. Subject to the provisions of Subsection (1) and of Sections 29 and 84 of this Constitution, sittings of Parliament in any session after the commencement of that session shall be held at such times and on such days as Parliament shall appoint.”
The Presidential Summoning of Parliament as provided for in Section 86 (1) of Act No. 6 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, sponsored by tax payers money, was supposed to have discussed the Census Order, 2021, the Census Act, 2002 (Act No.14 of 2002) and the Statutory Instrument No.4 of 2021, the Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and MACCEM Industries (SL) Ltd, dated December, 2020, the Agreement between the Government of Sierra Leone and DURA Plast and Ferro Fabric Sierra Leone Limited, dated January 2021 and the Cybercrime Act, 2020.
Unfortunately, the entire process was turned into a battle field with MPs throwing wild punches and derogatory words at each other.
Save for the quick intervention of security personnel who swiftly evacuated the Honourable Speaker of Parliament and the almighty Ceremonial Mace after some strange and very offensive missiles were thrown at him, there would have been a total different story sad to read. The sitting was however adjourned to Thursday.