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Plenary Suspended: MP Zaake vs Deputy Speaker

Tayebwa presiding over the house Tuesday. PHOTO PARLIAMENT MEDIA

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa suspended the plenary for more than 30 minutes on Tuesday after Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake defied his directive on the procedure of raising a matter of national importance.

Zaake had sought a resolution of the House pertaining to the abduction of a former presidential candidate, Joseph Kabuleta, and Sheikh Ramadhan Mwanja, the Deputy Amir of Jamatil Dawatil Salafiya Tablique Community on Monday.

The two were picked up separately by plain-clothed security personnel driving in omnibuses popularly known as drones. The Criminal Investigations Directorate has since slapped Kabuleta with charges of sectarianism while Sheikh Mwanje’s whereabouts remain unknown.

It is against the background that Zaake raised the matter in parliament to compel the Government to pronounce itself and denounce the persistent abduction of citizens without following lawful channels. He also alluded to the earlier abduction of Jamshid Kavuma, a supporter of the opposition National Unity Platform – NUP party, and bodyguard to their party’s President, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine and three others.

An attempt by Tayebwa to guide Zaake to first take his seat hit a stalemate when the charged legislator insisted to be allowed to complete his submissions. Tayebwe called on the Opposition Chief Whip, John Baptist Nambeshe to prevail over his member without success.

Chaos ensued and Zaake was whisked out of the House by the Sergeant-at-Arms. Following the resumption of the House after 30 minutes, Tayebwa referred Zaake to the Committee of Rules and Privileges for redress.

Medard Sseggona Lubega, the Busiro County East Constituency legislator who stepped in for Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament warned of more abductions and pleaded with Tayebwa to exercise patience and rescind his decision.

It is not the first time Zaake has stirred controversies in Parliament. On March 10, 2022, 155 out of 529 legislators voted to remove Zaake from the Parliamentary Commission for disparaging the then Deputy Speaker, Anita Among.

The motion to remove Zaake was moved by Bardege-Layibi Division legislator, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi after the House adopted the majority report authored by the Rules, Privileges, and Discipline committee of parliament chaired by Abdu Katuntu, the Bugweri County Member of parliament.

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