Court directs on Zaake impeachment case

MP Francis Zaake interacts with his lawyers Erias Lukwago(L) and Medard Lubega Segona at the Supreme Court in Kampala on February 28, 2024. PHOTO/JULIET KIGONGO

The Supreme Court has issued directives to parties in the case challenging a court decision that quashed a House resolution that removed lawmaker Francis Zaake from office as a commissioner of Parliament in March 2022.

Justice Percy Night Tuhaise directed the lawyers representing Zaake and the Attorney General (AG) to file documents in court. Thereafter, they will be informed of the date on which to return to court to make oral highlights before a panel of seven justices.

“The appellants shall file on March 14, respondents will reply together with authorities by March 28 and if any rejoinder by the appellant on April 8,” Justice Tuhaise held.

The Constitutional Court on September 28, 2023 quashed the Parliamentary resolution that removed Zaake from office, citing lack of at least one half of all voting Members of Parliament (MPs) as the requisite quorum.

Court ruled that Parliament had acted contrary to its rules of procedure.

“The then Deputy Speaker acted as a judge in her own cause when she continued chairing Parliament in a matter in which she had a personal interest; the resultant proceedings contravened or were inconsistent with Articles 2 (1) and (2), 8A, 28, 42 and 44 (c) of the Constitution and were null and void ab intio,” held Justice Irene Mulyagonja in the lead judgment.

On March 10, 2022, Parliament removed Zaake from his Commissioner position over his misconduct as found by the report of the House’s Standing Committee on Rules, Privilege and Discipline.

Court previously declared that suspension of specific rules of the Legislature’s procedure during the House 14th Sitting of the 2nd Session in which the 11th Parliament adopted the motion for Zaake’s removal- compromised the Ugandan law.

 “The adoption of the report of the Standing Committee on Rules, Privilege and Discipline on the inquiry into allegations of misconduct and misbehavior against the petitioner in the absence of the requisite quorum of at least one-third of all voting MPs was inconsistent with or in contravention Articles 2 (l) and (2), 88 and 94 (l) of the Constitution; and rule 24 (l) of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament,” court ruled.

But the Attorney General appealed against the decision.