By Our Reporter
A section of MPs are scheduled to move a motion on today, Tuesday 15th February 2022 seeking the removal of Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake, from the Parliamentary Commission office.
The Parliamentary Commission is the top most decision making organ of the House established under Article 87A of the Constitution.
Zaake was at the beginning of the 11th Parliament last year chosen by the Opposition biggest party in the House – the National Unity Platform (NUP) to sit on the Parliamentary Commission as a back-bench member.
The other back-bench Commissioners from the ruling National Resistance Movement –NRM party are; Bukhooli Central MP Solomon Silwany, Rubanda Woman MP Prossy Akampurira and Zombo Woman MP Esther Afayochan. The other members of the Commission principally include the Speaker Jacob Oulanyah (Chairperson), Deputy Speaker Anita Among, Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, Leader of Opposition Mathias Mpuuga, Government Chief Whip Thomas Tayebwa and Finance Minister Matia Kasaija.
Now, according to Tuesday’s order paper, Bardege-Layidi Division MP, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi will move a motion for a resolution of parliament under Rule 110 of the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Uganda and Section 5 of the Administration of Parliament Act.
The motion is to be seconded by MPs Agnes Atim Apea, the Amolatar Woman representative, Soroti West Division MP Jonathan Ebwalu and Busia Municipality MP Geoffrey Macho.
Rule 110 of the Parliament Rules of Procedure and Section 5 of the Administration of Parliament Act provide for the removal of a commissioner.
Sources indicate that the item on the order paper is targeting MP Zaake for attacking the Deputy Speaker, Anita Among on his Twitter handle on Wednesday last week. “To my consternation, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament while presiding over a session of parliament controverted the finding of High Court in Suit No. 85 of 2020 that I was tortured by sarcastically stating but with the utmost level of recklessness that though tortured, Won a medal in E.A @Parliament_Ug games,” reads part of Zaake’s tweet.
He further blamed Deputy Speaker Among for failing in her duty towards legislators and the country at large.
“The utter bunkum emanating from her dishonest lips was only intended to mock and break me down, this is idiocy! Parliament deserves better, how a person of her caliber lack intelligent prowess to appreciate that healing is a natural phenomenon,” reads part of Zaake’s tweets.
The tweets were in response to Among’s comment about Zaake, made during a Tuesday 8th debate on a torture statement tabled by the Acting Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Muruli Mukasa.
The Deputy Speaker’s comment followed a submission by Kampala Central MP Muhammad Nsereko who said that some members of the House are on recorder for having been tortured. He cited MP Zaake saying that even court ruled in his favor and that he is awaiting compensation.
Removal of a Commissioner
Under the parliament rules of procedure, 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.
“A Motion for a resolution for the removal of a Commissioner shall 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. The notice shall indicate the grounds for the Motion and all particulars supporting the grounds,” the rules further provide.
It is further required that a Motion for the resolution under this rule shall 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.
However, sources indicate that the rule requirement of a notice to the Clerk and signatures is going to be suspended. When contacted by our reporter, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi, the Bardege-Layidi Division MP declined to divulge details of his motion.
“Can you be patient and wait tomorrow when am moving that motion…yeah, it would be good for you to be patient and wait tomorrow. It will be good for you to follow it tomorrow. Unfortunately, I will advise you to be patient,” he said.
Agnes Atim Apea, the Amolatar Woman representative also feigned ignorance of a motion she is scheduled to second.
“I have just arrived in Parliament. I have been away…am just actually going to the Legal office to get details of it, and then I let you know. I haven’t seen it yet but of course I know, I will be seconding but I have not yet got the real gist of the matter,” said Atim.
When contacted again, Atim said that they cannot talk about a motion which is not yet on the floor.
Geoffrey Macho, the Busia Municipality MP was also uncomfortable to speak about the motion before Tuesday’s plenary sitting. “Is it removal or apology? I am not around, am in Busia…I don’t think whether I will be around tomorrow. You can be listed a hundred times on the order paper but I have to look at how the motion was drafted first,” Macho said in part.
He further insisted that he had not looked at the motion yet and that he did not have information about seconding the motion.
“You are the one who is telling me. What is it about…have you read the motion? You can’t move a motion without warning somebody, that is the procedure, you warn somebody. Our purpose was to raise a notice for him to come and apologize not to remove,” Macho later said after feigning ignorance about the motion.
When asked more questions, Macho told our reporter to follow the plenary sitting on Tuesday and see how Parliament will move.
Efforts to reach MP Francis Zaake were futile.