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MP Zaake still our parliamentary commissioner: Kyagulanyi

NUP president Robert Kyagulanyi and LOP Mathias Mpuuga address the press.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Unity Platform-NUP president, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu has said that the Mityana Municipality MP, Francis Zaake remains their choice for Parliamentary Commissioner.

Kyagulanyi told journalists at Parliament on Thursday that Zaake’s censure was illegal.

NUP nominated Zaake to the Parliamentary Commission as a back-bench member at the beginning of the 11th Parliament last year. The other three back-bench Commissioners are from the ruling National Resistance Movement –NRM party.

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).

“My stand on Honorable Zaake’s plight, I have been numerously been well represented by our leaders…by the office of the Leader of Opposition and I don’t defer from that position. The censure was irregular and the process was done in an illegal manner. As far as we are concerned, the Honorable Francis Zaake is our Commissioner,” said Kyagulanyi in part.

Kyagulanyi says that it was irregular for the Deputy Speaker to be a complainant in the matter and also preside over the House to vote out MP Zaake.

Last week, Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga questioned the manner in which Zaake was removed from the Parliamentary Commission. He argued that the House needed 265 MPs to vote in favor of the motion seeking to remove him but only 155 MPs voted in favour, contrary to a requirement under the Rules of Procedure for 50 percent plus one member of the voting MPs to support the motion. The 11th Parliament has a total of 529 MPs.

Earlier, the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee recommended that Zaake apologizes to the House for his actions that are tantamount to indiscipline. In its report, the committee confirmed that Zaake made statements on his social media accounts of Facebook and Twitter and that the statements brought Parliament into disrepute.

The committee also reported that Zaake was in breach of the rule on public trust and confidence under the Code of Conduct of MPs and recommended that he apologizes to the House.

The report is a result of a probe that followed a complaint raised by the Bardege-Layibi Division MP, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi who wanted to move a motion for Zaake’s removal from the parliamentary commission over abusive tweets he posted targeting Deputy Speaker Anita Among, as an individual and as a presiding officer.

In his post made on February 9, Zaake, a member of the opposition’s National Unity Platform–NUP said Among was a dishonest person who lacked “intelligential prowess.”

The tweets were in response to Among’s comment about Zaake’s recovery, which earned parliament gold at the East African Parliamentary Games, despite claims that he had been tortured while in State custody. She made the remarks during a debate on a statement tabled by the Acting Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Muruli Mukasa.

On Thursday, Zaake petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking a temporary injunction to block his removal from office as a Commissioner of Parliament.

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