Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga yesterday sent Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake to the Committee on Rules, Discipline and Privileges to be investigated for alleged misconduct.
In her opening remarks for yesterday’s plenary sitting, Ms Kadaga said the conduct of Mr Zaake was “unparliamentary.”
Her opening remarks lasted less than an hour because of absence of the Prime Minister and his entire Cabinet.
“Over the last two days, there are some members who have put this House in disrepute. On Tuesday, when Education minister (State for Higher Education, John Chrysostom Muyingo) appeared, the Honourable Zaake’s conduct was unparliamentary,” the Speaker said.
She added that she made the decision after reviewing a video footage in which Mr Zaake appears to be confronting the Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, who had appeared before the Education and Sports committee on Wednesday.
The committee chaired by Mr Jacob Richards Opolot is investigating the issues surrounding the Makerere University students’ strike that saw the army raid and beat up students in their halls of residence and hostels.
“I have watched the video footage and found that Hon Zaake has a prima facie case and I hereby refer him to the Committee on Rules, Discipline and Privileges for further investigations,” Ms Kadaga said.
It is reported that on Tuesday, Mr Zaake, who is not a member of the Education committee, insisted that Minister Muyingo be sent away because he wanted Ms Janet Museveni to appear since she is the minister for Education.
On Wednesday, reports say, Mr Zaake gave Prof Nawangwe hard time before confronting him at the end of the meeting.
The Speaker said she had been told that at some point, Mr Zaake ignored the orders of the committee chairperson, demanding that only his issues were handled first despite there being a systematic way of raising questions by all members in attendance. Mr Zaake, who was not in the House yesterday, will be charged under Rule 83, which is about use of dishonourable language, and Rule 84, which concerns the general behaviour of MPs.
The last time the Rules committee handled a disciplinary case referred to it by the House was five months ago when it investigated the Security minister, Gen Elly Tumwine, who was accused of attempted assault on Dokolo District Woman MP Cecilia Ogwal and demeaning Parliament and the person of the Speaker.
After two months of investigation, the Committee found Gen Tumwine guilty of assaulting Ms Ogwal but exonerated him on demeaning Parliament.
The Committee does not punish any MP but the Speaker has the prerogative to punish such individual, including suspension from a number of sittings.
MPs speak out on speaker’s directive
Opposition Chief Whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (Kira Municipality) told Daily Monitor after plenary yesterday that it is the Education committee chairperson, Mr Opolot, who is supposed to be investigated for failing to control the meeting.
Mr Ssemujju also said it was inevitable that the emotions of some MPs would go high while the committee was interfacing with Makerere University management because of the suffering they inflicted on the students when they allowed the military to brutalise them.
Ibanda North MP Guma Gumisiriza applauded the Speaker’s ruling, saying it is time the conduct of some MPs is checked because Parliament is about intellectual debate not fighting.
“Even when we were amending the Constitution (removal of presidential age limit in 2017), it is the same behaviour he [Zaake] exhibited; wanting to fight and I pity the voters of Mityana,” he said.