The Chairperson of Rules Privileges and Discipline Committee Abdul Katuntu has given opposition Commissioner of Parliament Francis Zaake one day to prepare and make his response in regards to disparaging the Deputy Speaker Anita Among.
The MP is accused of insulting the integrity of Parliament after he last week took to social media and used offensive language to express his dissatisfaction with the Deputy Speaker’s statement regarding his alleged torture.
Appearing before the Committee, Zaake said that he constantly get cruel remarks from government officials and security spokespersons asserting that he faked the torture and therefore, the proceedings are not intended to establish the truth.
“The proceedings are aimed at knotting the rope with which the mob after lynching me, will hang me to fit the narrative that I committed suicide. The multiple incidents of torture have left me with haunting post traumatic stress disorder. I can no longer fall asleep with lights off, let alone without music playing. I can no longer stand with the soles of my feet firmly fixed on the ground,” he told the Committee.
Katuntu has said that whereas they sympathize with Zaake about the torture he has faced but the committee is investigating something else; the social media statements of Zaake disparaging the Deputy Speaker.
Earlier this month, Martin Mapenduzi raised the matter in the August House noting that he intended to move a motion to have Zaake relieved of his duties as a commissioner for denigrating the integrity of Parliament and Office of the Speaker in breach of Rules 84 and 85 of the Rules of Procedure and Paragraph 5 of the Code of Conduct of Members.
“All of us may have our own emotions and issues to deal with but there are avenues in our Rules of Procedure through which anything done by the presiding officer can be challenged. The member never exercised any of the remedies provided in the rules but chose to go to social media,” Mapenduzi said
The matter was supported by the Soroti West Division MP; Jonathan Ebwalu who said Zaake’s use of unparliamentary language on social media against the person of the Deputy Speaker was in bad faith and demeaned the office of the Speaker and institution of parliament.
“The intention was to damage; lower the character and status of the Speaker and the reputation of this Parliament. It is our obligation to defend Parliament from any attack. We need to enact laws to check cyber bullying, cyber harassment, blackmail and intimidation,” he said.
Esther Afoyochan, one of the Backbench commissioners disassociated her from the social media utterances attributed to Zaake saying that the House should deal with the matter in accordance with the House’s prescribed guidelines.
Deputy Speaker, Anita Among referred the matter to the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline for further investigations.
And, yesterday, the four complaint MPs appeared before Parliament’s Rules Committee chaired by legislator Abdu Katuntu to present a formal complaint against Zaake. The group accuses Zaake of insulting the integrity of Parliament after he last week took to social media and used offensive language to express his dissatisfaction with the Deputy Speaker’s statement regarding his alleged torture.