Mityana Municipality MP, Francis Zaake has heaped praise on the legal team representing him in the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee of parliament, on allegations of misconduct, for what he calls challenging its members whom he accuses of being biased.

The team comprises Eron Kizza, Benjamin Katana and Sasi Marvin.

Zaake is accused of allegedly using his social media platforms to insult the Deputy Speaker, Annet Anita Among, who instituted a probe following a complaint of misconduct raised by the Bardege Layibi Division MP, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi on the floor of parliament.

He proposed to move a motion for Zaake’s removal from the parliamentary commission, the top most organ of the House.

He noted that Zaake’s outburst on social media about the deputy speaker was in breach of the code of conduct for 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.

Zaake appeared before the Rules Committee together with his lawyers on Monday and challenged the jurisdiction. They would then ask for some time for the lawyers to address selves to the matter. The Committee Chairperson agreed and postponed the matter to Wednesday.

However, Zaake and his lawyers were no show before the committee during the ruling. The committee clerk, Aida Kusiima informed the members that she had received a call from their law firm indicating that Zaake had withdrawn his instructions for representation.

She also noted that her calls to confirm whether Zaake was going to appear before the committee went unanswered.

In their written submission to the committee on Tuesday, Zaake’s lawyers, Eron Kiiza and Benjamin Katana challenged the jurisdiction of the committee to investigate matters outside the precincts of parliament.

They noted that the committee spring from Article 94 (1) of the Constitution enjoining Parliament to frame rules to “regulate its own procedure including the procedure of its committees.” The article is appropriately titled “Rules of Procedure in Parliament.” It is not Rules of Procedure outside Parliament,” reads part of the submission.

They argued that Jurisdiction is a creature of a statute and must be expressly stated before it is assumed.

Now, in a tweet, Zaake says his lawyers did a great job in exposing the lack of jurisdiction and bias of the Committee on his matter.

“Want to thank my party, NUP for legally representing me via learned counsels Benjamin Katana and Sasi Marvin. In the same vain, I laud award winning human rights lawyer Kiiza Eron who has been the lead Counsel. They have strongly challenged the committee on grounds of jurisdiction, bias, partiality and lack of independence. This has left the committee exposed to public scrutiny,” Zaake wrote on Wednesday.

This came shortly after a ruling by the Committee Chairperson Abdul Katuntu that the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee of parliament has the jurisdiction to investigate and discipline any legislator for their conduct outside the precincts of the House.

In his ruling Katuntu emphasizes that rule 5 of the Code of Conduct under Appendix F of the Parliament Rules of Procedure provides that members shall at all times conduct themselves in a manner that maintains and strengthens the public trust and confidence in the integrity of parliament and never undertake any action, which may bring the House or its members, generally into disrepute.

Katuntu said that his Committee has ably identified and considered the applicable provision of the law indicating that it has jurisdiction to adjudicate and determine complaints against Hon. Zaake “Learned Counsel for Hon. Zaake premised their contention on Article 94 that provides that subject to provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may make rules to regulate its own procedure including the procedures of its committee.

“The committee’s view is that whereas the title alludes to rules of procedure in Parliament, the actual rule empowers parliament to make rules to regulate its procedure including the procedure of this committee,” said Katuntu. He noted that the rule does not in any way restrict parliament to making rules of procedure governing the conduct of its members only during proceedings in parliament or within the precincts of parliament.

“To do so, would be to create an absurdity. Article 94 of the Constitution, enacted the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Uganda, Statutory Instrument 21 of 2021. These are the rules that regulate the conduct of business as well as the conduct and discipline of Members of Parliament,” Katuntu explained.

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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