Updated at 2234 EAT on FEB 21st 2021.
Parliament’s Rules, Privileges and Disciplinary Committee on Monday held a preparation meeting ahead of a probe into Mityana Municipality legislator Francis Zaake’s conduct.
Zaake, who sits on the Parliamentary Commission, the governing body of parliament, is accused using neutralizing and demeaning language while responding to Deputy Speaker Anita Among on February 8, this year.
The MP, using his social media accounts, claimed that the deputy speaker was dishonest and described her remarks on his alleged torture by state operatives as “idiocy.”
“Parliament deserves better, how a person of her calibre lacks intelligential prowess to appreciate that healing is a natural phenomenon! The loose cannon in her couldn’t contemplate the duty that her office owes members and the country at large, disturbingly she ejaculated while presiding over a session to condemn torture, aah! How hypocritical, shame upon you!” Zaake ranted.
Whereas Zaake has since deleted the tweets, his colleagues in parliament led by Hon Martin Ojara Mapenduzi (Layibi-Bardege) have been pushing for his removal from the Parliamentary Commission.
Last week on February 15; Mapenduzi who ironically was appointed by the latter’s National Unity Platform (NUP) to head the Local Government’s Accounts Committee tried in vain to have Zaake dismissed from the Parliamentary Commission.
Mapenduzi said Zaake’s conduct “amounted to gross misconduct and misbehaviour…which I intend to move a motion under section 5 of the Administration of Parliament Act for his removal from the office of commissioner of Parliament.”
Deputy Speaker Anita Among in return referred the matter to the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee and tasked it to report back in two weeks.
Today, the Abdu Katuntu led Committee met at Parliament to come up with a framework on how to execute this matter.
“Proceedings of this committee are going to start tomorrow at eleven o’clock in the morning and we are going to start by listening to Hon. Mapenduzi, Hon. Ebwalu, Hon. Macho and Hon. Mary Nakato,” Katuntu disclosed.
“We have also invited Hon Zaake to attend proceedings when the complainants are making their case. If he does wish to ask any question, he will be at liberty to ask the complainants any question or seek any clarification. Thirdly the Hon Zaake has been informed that he has a right to appear with a counsel if he so wishes. On Wednesday (February 23rd, 2022) we will be interviewing Hon. Zaake together with any other witness if he thinks there is a witness who will be supporting his case,” he further retorted.
ChimpReports understands that as a matter of principle, the Committee has unilaterally agreed to block any MP who has commented on this matter publically and those who have appended signatures to the censure motion.
“We have said anybody who has made a public prejudicial statement will excuse himself. We have already taken a decision as a committee. And then as a committee, we are not aware but in case it has happened, we have agreed that our colleagues who have done it should excuse themselves. But we are not aware of colleagues who have signed a petition,” he revealed.
Opposition MPs who attended include Butambala Woman MP Aisha Kabanda, Kayemba Solo (Bukomansimbi South), Dokolo Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal among others.
Katuntu asked committee members to guard their opinions from the fourth estate.
“This is a quasi-judicial committee so we don’t want to make any prejudicial statements until we take a decision. I request you not to make any matters in the press, whatever the press has let it pick it from here when you are here. It will not be correct for members to leave here and go and start addressing the press on issues we are handling here,” he beseeched.
“And members of the press, I will request you, don’t start quoting sources. If you want anything I am going to be the spokesperson of this committee, ask and I will let you know. There is nothing that is going to happen behind closed doors or in camera except the latter part of today’s meeting.”