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Deputy Speaker Directs House Rules Committee To Investigate MP Zaake

The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among has directed the Committee on rules, privileges and discipline to investigate the Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament, Francis Zaake for alleged misconduct and use of language out of the decorum of parliament.

She issued the directive following a matter of national importance raised by Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the Bardege-Layidi Division MP in Gulu city in which he informed the house about his intention to move a motion under Section 5 of the Parliament Administration Act for Zaake’s removal from the parliamentary commission, the top most organ of the house. He explained that he would be moving the House to suspend rule 56 and rule 110 of the Rules of Procedure.

Rule 56 provides for Notice of motions and states that no Motion shall be moved unless the Member moving it has given written notice to the Speaker and the Clerk not less than three days previous to the sitting at, which the member intends to move the motion. On the other hand, Rule 110 of the Parliament Rules of Procedure provides for the removal of a Commissioner and outlines the necessary processes to be followed.

It states that a Member of the Commission, other than the Speaker or the Leader of Government business, Leader of the Opposition or the Minister of finance may be removed from office by Parliament for incompetence, misconduct, insanity, and inability to perform the functions of his or her office arising from infirmity of body or mind.

This involves a Motion for a resolution for the removal of a Commissioner to be initiated by a notice in writing to the Clerk, signed by not less than one-third of all the voting Members of Parliament, indicating their intention for moving the Motion for the removal.

It requires that the Motion for the resolution be placed on the Order Paper fourteen days from the date on which, notice to remove the Commissioner shall have been communicated to the Clerk and a Commissioner shall be removed upon the vote of at least half of all voting Members of Parliament.

According to Mapenduzi, Zaake is in breach of the code of conduct for Member of Parliament particular a requirement for members to at all times conduct themselves in a manner, which will maintain and strengthen the public’s trust and confidence in the integrity of Parliament and never undertake any action that may bring the House or its Members, into disrepute.

“I rise on the point of privilege which is of utmost importance and urgency to this honourable House. Right honourable Speaker, last week the nation woke up to a rant by a Member of this House, a Commissioner of Parliament, the honourable Zaake Francis through his known social media handles where he insulted the integrity of this House and above all, the integrity of the Office of the Speaker,” he said in part.

Mapenduzi read to the House Zaake’s tweets that he posted on Wednesday last week and tabled a print on the floor of parliament.

He accused Zaake of denigrating the integrity of the House in the eyes of the citizens and breaching the code of conduct of Parliament.

Jonathan Ebwalu, the Soroti West Division MP, said that any attack on the office of the Speaker is an attack on the institution of Parliament. He argued that Zaake’s comments on social media were in bad faith and intended to demean the office of Speaker and Parliament.

Macho Geoffrey, the Busia Municipality MP, said that the House has on several occasions been abused by its members. He concurred with Ebwalu that parliament institutes a stringent law targeting cyber blackmail and intimidation.

Agnes Atim Apea, the Amolatar Woman MP related Zaake’s comment to emotional and psychological violence. She urged the House to support any motion that would be tabled so that they can take action against the Commissioner.

Commissioner Esther Afayochan described as sad the comments made by Zaake. The Zombo Woman MP said that Zaake’s statements are not a stand of the Parliamentary Commission but an issue of indiscipline amongst individuals.

In response, Deputy Speaker Among, said that some things don’t bog her down and that she was to continue Chairing the House and move on. She however said that the issue raised is pertinent and that the member’s complaint is based on alleged abuse of privileges by a member of the House, which touches the office of the Speaker.

Among said that Zaake’s conduct touches her personality and the House, saying that she is permitted to defend herself and offer the accused a fair hearing.

She then directed the Committee on rules, privileges and discipline to investigate the matter and report back within two weeks before any other process takes place.

The Government Chief Whip, Thomas Tayebwa said that the statements made by Zaake against the Deputy Speaker were shocking and that there is a need to protect the office of the Speaker.

He said that the ruling National Resistance Movement –NRM party is determined to protect the Office of the Speaker with its might.

URN

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