Parliaments’ Rules, Privileges and Discipline committee has resolved to start its inquiry into the alleged misconduct of Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake on Tuesday.
Committee Chairperson Abdu Katuntu unveiled the work plan to journalists after a closed-door meeting in which MPs discussed how to proceed with the matter which was referred to them by the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among last week. Zaake is accused of misconduct and using unaccepted language.
The matter was raised in Parliament by Bardege-Layibi Division MP Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, who wanted to move a motion for Zaake’s removal from the parliamentary commission, the top most organ of the house. He said that Zaake was acting in breach of the code of conduct for Member of Parliament particularly a requirement to conduct themselves in a manner, which will maintain and strengthen the public’s trust and confidence in the integrity of Parliament.
“…last week, the nation woke up to a rant by a Member of this House, a Commissioner of Parliament, the honourable Zaake Francis through his known social media handles where he insulted the integrity of this House and above all, the integrity of the Office of the Speaker,” Mapenduzi said in relation to a tweet posted by Zaake. Mapenduzi said that Zaake’s conduct is likely to bring the House into disrepute.
It’s on the basis of this that Among directed the Rules Committee to investigate the matter and report back within two weeks before any other process can take place. Now, Katuntu says that his committee is going to first interface with Mapenduzi, Jonathan Ebwalu, the Soroti West Division MP, Geoffrey Macho, the Busia Municipality MP and Mary Annet Nakato, the Buyende Woman MP who jointly seconded the motion.
Katuntu added that his committee would thereafter interface with Zaake after which they will determine whether to interface with any other person or not. He said that the Committee should have completed its report on Thursday next week.
“We are only looking at the complaints and honourable Zaake. If it is necessary to invite any other person, we will invite or talk to any other person and that includes the Deputy Speaker,” Katuntu explained.
Katuntu said that any legislator who is a member of the committee and has made a public, prejudicial statement regarding the matter under investigation would not participate in the committee proceedings.
“They will not be part of the committee. Anybody who has made a public, prejudicial statement will excuse him or herself. We have already taken a decision as a committee in case it has happened,” said Katuntu. This was in response to the ongoing secret signing of a petition to drop Zaake from the Parliamentary Commission.
The Commission is composed of the Speaker as chair, and also has the Deputy Speaker (Anita Among), the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja), the Leader of Opposition (Mathias Mpuuga), the Government Chief Whip (Thomas Tayebwa), and Finance Minister (Matia Kasaija). It has four backbench members of which three are from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) Party while one is from the Opposition.
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