What you need to know:
- The National Unity Platform has since September alleged that security forces have been abducting its supporters and torturing them.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr Thomas Tayebwa, has sent Mr Francis Zaake, the Member of Parliament for Mityana Municipality, to the House’s Committee on Rules, Privileges, and Discipline for disciplinary action over alleged his misconduct on the floor during yesterday’s afternoon proceedings.
The ruling followed Mr Zaake’s brief submission on the floor over a procedural matter on the abductions of Opposition supporters.
The National Unity Platform (NUP) has since September alleged that security forces have been abducting its supporters and torturing them.
“Mr Speaker, only this month alone, hundreds of youth have been abducted and they have disappeared. They have not been seen or heard of,” Mr Zaake said.
Mr Tayebwa interrupted the submission and asked him to take his seat and guided that since the issue was not part of proceedings in the House, Mr Zaake should meet him in his office about the matter.
But when Mr Zaake insisted on speaking by reasoning the matter had been ongoing and that “we seem not to be doing anything”, the Deputy Speaker was forced to suspend the House and step out of the chambers for five minutes.
Upon his return, the legislature read to members the riot act on discipline.
“If you want to do drama, go and do it in your constituency and not on the floor of Parliament. As per Rule 175 of our Rules of Procedure, I refer Honorable Zaake to the Committee on Rules for disciplinary,” Mr Tayebwa said.
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Rule 175 (a) of the Rules of Procedure states that the Rules Committee shall by the order of the House inquire into any complaint of contempt of Parliament or breach of privilege or any matter of privilege which may be referred to it and to recommend to the House such action as the Committee may consider appropriate.
Mr Tayebwa also mentioned that the matter had also been previously discussed and that resolutions had been ongoing but Mr Zaake had not been following after missing over 10 sittings without permission from the House.
“When you have an issue of that nature, you come to the Presiding officer. My chambers are open. Every day colleagues are in my chambers, Opposition and NRM [National Resistance Movement] and you ask for space and I give you space [on the order paper]. This House has rules and we shall go by them. No one will be allowed to blackmail the House,” Mr Tayebwa said.
Opposition Chief Whip, Mr John Baptist Nambeshe, asked the House to bear with them for whatever mishap their colleague had created.
Mr Medard Sseggona, the Busiro County East MP, revealed that a team including Opposition members had met [during the five minutes House adjournment] and agreed that both sides of Parliament should never allow such a scenario to happen again.
They said much as the issues raised by Mr Zaake were important, the way he presented them was not proper.
This is not the first time MP Zaake is being referred for disciplinary action.
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Earlier in February, the Mityana legislator was sent to the same Committee by current Speaker, Ms Anita Among, who was then serving as Deputy Speaker, over his alleged abusive tweets directed to her after stating that she insensitively handled his torture ordeal.
The tweets later cost Zaake his position as Commissioner of Parliament.