The Opposition in parliament has dropped Badege Layibi MP Ojala Mapenduzi as the Chairperson of Local Government Accounts committee. Mapenduzi has been replaced by Kilak South MP, Gilbert Olanya.
Mapenduzi was dropped following his decision to move a motion that led to the eviction of Mityana County MP Francis Zaake from the Parliamentary commission.
In February, Mapenduzi moved a motion seeking for the eviction of Zaake from the commission. The mission was seconded by Amolatar Woman MP Atim Agnes Apea of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), Soroti West MP (Independent) Jonathan Ebwalu and Busia MP Geoffrey Macho (Independent).
The four accused Zaake 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 legislators argue that Zaake’s conduct when he attacked then Deputy Speaker Anita Among on social media did not only denigrate the integrity of Parliament but was also a breach of Rule 84 and 85 and paragraph 5 of the Code of Conduct of MPs.
“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 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.
The then presiding officer of parliament Anita Among referred the matter to the Rules Privileges and Discipline Committee which was chaired by MP Abdul Katuntu for further investigations. Following the tabling of the report, the MPs voted Zaake out of the commission.
Zaake however didn’t relent, in March, he petitioned the Constitution court challenging his removal from parliamentary commission in a secret ballot conducted at Parliament, 155 out of 161 members voted for his removal from the Parliament Commission.
Through his lawyers led by the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, Zaake said that parliament had no quorum to have him removed from the commission. He wants the court to nullify parliament’s decision and order for his reinstatement as commissioner of parliament.
He accused the Rules Committee members of Receiving Shs6 million worth of taxpayer’s money as a reward for participating in the Committee proceedings that resulted in his removal from office.
During plenary sessions to honour Parliament and staff who had participated in the East African Legislative Assembly Games in Arusha, Tanzania last year, Among said although Zaake was reportedly tortured and had a broken leg, he brought back a gold medal for Parliament. This prompted Zaake to go on social media where he authored the statements for which he was found guilty.
The panel of judges led by Catherine Bamugemereire, Christopher Izama Madrama, Stephen Musota, Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi, and Irene Mulyagonja ordered parties’ lawyers to file all supported evidence that was not included in the petition. The judgment will however be delivered on notice.