What you need to know:
- Mr Kasirye told the committee that when Mr Zaake on the fateful day rose on the matter of procedure and was allowed to speak, he raised the issue of the missing persons, which according to him had “reached critical levels, especially in the central region.”
A number of witnesses summoned by the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee of Parliament yesterday accused Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake of conducting himself in a disorderly manner during a November 29 plenary.
On the fateful day, Mr Zaake faced off with the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa.
The parliamentary staff, led by Mr Ignatius Kasirye, the director of Clerks in Parliament, and three other members faulted Mr Zaake for the chaos in the house.
Mr Kasirye told the committee that when Mr Zaake on the fateful day rose on the matter of procedure and was allowed to speak, he raised the issue of the missing persons, which according to him had “reached critical levels, especially in the central region.”
He said Mr Tayebwa ordered Mr Zaake to sit down to get further guidance but Mr Zaake rejected and continued to argue.
“There was a lot of commotion and there was disorder. When the Speaker realised there was disorder in the House, he was forced to suspend the sitting for some time. When we resumed, Mr Zaake was not in the House, but the then acting Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Mr John Baptist Nambeshe, asked the Speaker to explain a few things,” Mr Kasirye said.
Mr Atim Edin Sheila, the deputy Sergeant-at-arms of Parliament, told the committee that on the day of the alleged misconduct, Mr Zaake refused to listen to the Speaker’s guidance and continued shouting.
“Honourable members remained standing and insisted it was a matter of procedure and needed to elaborate on and then he [Zaake] went on to shout on top of his voice. The Speaker realised that the matter was getting out of hand, he suspended the House for five minutes and then I went through the side room to allay the Speaker to the VIP room,” she said.
Ms Atim further revealed that after the House resumed, the Speaker referred Zaake to the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Disciplines.
Ms Merina Barungi, the senior assistant clerk in Parliament, also told the committee that Mr Zaake rejected the Speaker’s directives and remained defiant until the House was adjourned for five minutes.
“He rose up again after the Speaker’s guidance and said this is a serious matter that he could not wait, he wanted to raise it there and then. Still, the Speaker insisted that he should wait and be given another opportunity to submit it. Hon Zaake did not barge and said he wanted to submit [immediately] and the Speaker was compelled to suspend the House,” she said.
However, Zaake’s lawyer Erias Lukwago accused the committee chairperson, Mr Abdu Katuntu, of protecting the key witness (Ignatius Kasirye) from being cross-examined.
“Since the witness is not ready to answer our questions and is being protected by the committee chairperson, I have no more questions on for the witness,” Mr Lukwago who looked visibly dismayed said during the hearing.
This came after Mr Katuntu repeatedly interrupted Mr Lukwago when he attempted to question Mr Kasirye.
Mr Lukwago also formally requested Mr Tayebwa and Mr Nambeshe to appear before the committee to answer questions relating to the alleged misconduct. He argued that Mr Tayebwa was crucial in giving a break down of the alleged misconduct.
Mr Katuntu ruled that the committee would make a decision on which witnesses would be summoned ahead of the resumption of the hearing on Tuesday next week.