The top leadership of the leading opposition political group, National Unity Platform (NUP) will again designate Mityana Municipality MP, Francis Zaake Butebi back to the Parliamentary Commission where he was on Thursday removed on grounds of misconduct, Plus News has exclusively learnt.

Parliament’s Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee found the youthful legislator guilty of breaching the code of conduct of a member of parliament particularly a requirement to conduct themselves in a manner which will maintain and strengthen the public trust and confidence in the integrity of Parliament, when he reportedly used his social media platforms to insult the Deputy Speaker of Parliament Annet Anita Among.

He was actually found guilty of acts that tantamount to indiscipline and recommended that he apologizes to the house, although this was amended to remove him from Commission before being adopted by the house.

This prompted the Deputy Speaker Anita Among who chaired the plenary to place a vote on whether Zaake is removed from the Commission or not, a move Members of Parliament from the opposition protested by walking out of the house.

A total of 161 MPs participated in the vote conducted through secret ballot, out of whom 155 supported the motion to decommission him, 4 against it and 2 votes were invalid.

The Deputy Speaker would then reveal that MP Francis Zaake will be required to apologise to the House within a period of 7 years. She said, “We ask the opposition to give us another name.”

This investigative news website has it on good authority that the Member of Parliament in question will not apologize and that his party – the National Unity Platform (NUP) will redesignate him back to the Commission.

“His purported censure from the Commission was illegal, unfair and demeaning from all points of views. First, the person said to have been affected by alleged social media posts did not interface anywhere with the Committee for interrogation. She instead kept on giving it instructions and presiding over the matter she is an interested party,” says one of the top party leaders who preferred anonymity.

“We have instructed him (Zaake) not to apologize. Why should he apologize for something he did not do? Secondly, wasn’t his claimed removal punishment enough to him?” he furiously asks.

He adds that the current leadership at Parliament has descended into being intolerant, dictatorial and imperious.

“Subjecting Zaake to apologize during plenary does not only violate the rules of procedure, but it is also uncalled for since the said statements were not made in the house,” he notes.

He explains that NUP is not willing to compromise the good works and firm representation of Francis Zaake on the parliamentary commission and thus, his name will again be forwarded.

On Friday, the Leader of Opposition in parliament, Mathias Mpuuga said going to courts of law is one of the options they may consider to have the decision overturned.

“It is not tenable anywhere in the law and so, we take exception of the fact that parliament can sit and resolve to subject a member to a double punishment. That is one of the issues Parliament should reconsider either by alternative justice through seeking justice from another arm of government or otherwise,” Mpuuga told reporters on Friday.

“We don’t have a provision in the Rules for the member to appeal and so, the appeal framework lies everywhere. That is one of the very serious gaps. We tried to guide that if anybody thought that the Hon Zaake was bearing guilt all-over, such guilty could not be cured through illegal and unhand means,” he adds.

The Parliamentary Commission is established by Article 87A of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. Section 2 (2) of the Administration of Parliament Act provides for the composition of the Commission to include Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Leader of Government Business, Leader of the Opposition, the Minister responsible for Finance and four Commissioners designated by their party whips – all backbench Members of Parliament). The Clerk to Parliament is Secretary to the Commission.

Currently, the 10 Commissioners of the Eleventh Parliament are Speaker, Jacob L. Oulanyah who chairs it, Deputy Speaker, Anita Annet Among (MP) and Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja.

Others Clerk to Parliament Adolf Mwesige Kasaija, Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Mathias Mpuuga, Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development Matia Kasaija (MP), MPs Solomon Silwany, Esther Afoyochan, Prossy Mbabazi Akampurira and the removed Francis Zaake.

Parliament’s rules of procedure, provides that in case of any defamatory statements by any member of the Commission, the committee of rules, privileges and discipline will investigate and report to the house in a period not later than 21 days.

Where there is proof that the member defamed the complainant, that member is expected to tender in an apology at the bar of the house in seven days and where a member refuses to apologize, the Speaker after the report from the committee of rules, privileges and discipline shall suspend that member for the duration of the session.

Thus, for the case of MP Francis Zaake, it should be noted that the person who is claimed to have been defamed is the Deputy Speaker who is currently chair the Commission since Speaker Jacob Oulanyah is out of the country for medical treatment.

Analysts say that since Anita Among was not interrogated by the Committee to give an account on what happened, everything done by the Committee was based on rumours, hearsay and social media.

Kungu Al-Mahadi Adam is an experienced Ugandan multimedia Journalist with a background of fact checking and thorough research. He is very passionate about current African affairs particularly Horn of Africa. He...

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