Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament Francis Zaake has petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking a temporary injunction to block his removal from office as a Commissioner of Parliament.
On March 10th 2022, the Parliament resolved to remove Zaake from the office of Commissioner and required him to apologize to Parliament within a week.
The removal from office followed a report made by the Committee of Rules, Discipline and Privileges with amendments presented by the chairperson Abdu Katuntu which found Zaake in breach of public trust and Parliament decorum.
On Wednesday, Zaake through his lawyers led by Erias Lukwago petitioned the Constitutional Court arguing that there’s an imminent threat that his rights, as well as entitlements, privileges and responsibilities attached to the office of the commissioner will be jeopardized.
According to Zaake, he will suffer damages that no amount of money can compensate if at all he is is not maintained as a Commissioner.
Zaake contends that he has filed a Constitutional petition challenging the process to remove him from office and it has higher chances of succeeding. He has therefore asked court to direct Parliament to halt the implementation of the resolution such that he remains in office until his constitutional petition is determined.
In his petition, Zaake accuses the Rules Committee members to having received 6 million shillings worth tax payers money as a reward for participating in the Committee proceedings that resulted in his removal from office.
According to Zaake, this was a bribe and therefore he wants the court to compel each beneficiary to refund the same to the consolidated fund.
He adds that the whole resolution was made in contravention with the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure because there was no quorum in the house having passed it without obtaining the vote of at least half of all voting members of Parliament.
The current Parliament of Uganda has more than 528 legislators and ex-officials but the evidence submitted to court shows that only 161 MPs participated in the voting exercise.
The evidence submitted to court also indicates that the motion to remove Zaake from office was smuggled onto the floor of Parliament because on that day, it was not on the order paper and that he was also not accorded a right to a fair hearing.
“The petitioner was not given any opportunity to answer issues raised in the debate that preceded voting on the impugned motion before the members physically present in the Parliamentary Chambers cast their votes”, reads Zaake’s affidavit.
Through his lawyers of Kiiza and Mugisha and Company, PACE Advocates, and Lukwago and Company Advocates, Zaake now wants the decision quashed and he goes back to his office as a Commissioner.
The case which is filed against the Attorney General is yet to be fixed for hearing.
Zaake’s troubles started a few weeks ago during plenary sessions to honour Parliament and staff who had participated in the East African Legislative Assembly Games in Tanzania.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among indicated that although Zaake had allegedly been tortured and had a broken leg, he was able to win a gold medal for Parliament. This was at the time when the Parliamentarians were concerned with the increased number of torture cases in the country allegedly by the security agencies and when the line minister seemed not bothered.
As a result, Parliament indicated that Zaake went on his social media platforms attacking Anita for having mocked him and the statements he reportedly posted were the reason he was found guilty and accordingly impeached from office.