Mityana Municipality MP Zaake Francis has snubbed the Parliamentary Committee on Rules Discipline and Privileges proceedings. The MP said the committee lacks the impartiality and independence required of it by the constitution.
Zaake is accused of insulting the integrity of Parliament after he took to social media and used offensive language to express his dissatisfaction with the Deputy Speaker’s statement regarding his alleged torture.
The legislator was expected to appear before the committee as he was directed during the first proceedings. He however filed his response to the allegations as Committee Chairman Abdul Kutuntu directed in the previous meeting.
“The Committee has no jurisdiction to investigate alleged breaches claimed to have occurred outside the precincts of Parliament. The Committee is proceeding in a polluted environment. Demonstrably, it lacks the impartiality and independence required of it by the Constitution,” he said.
“It is on account of the above reasons that I strongly object to the Committee’s proceedings against me because I cannot get a fair hearing in these circumstances. I reiterate that I was already tried in my absence, convicted, and sentenced before the Committee even began its work,” he said.
Zaake said he waits to be lynched on the floor of Parliament by my Honourable colleagues as further punishment and that is a price he is willing to pay for opposing dictatorship, after all his late comrades Frank Kalibbala, Ritah Nabukenya, and Dan Kyeyune paid heavier prices.
Last 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.