Political Activists To Accompany Zaake To Rules Committee

Political activists under their umbrella the United Forces of Change have revealed their plans to storm parliament and stand with Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake as he appears before the Rules, Privileges, and Discipline Committee of parliament, where the Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa referred him a fortnight ago.

Addressing journalists at the National Unity Platform-NUP headquarters in Kampala Tuesday, the activists said they stand with Zaake for speaking out for the voiceless. Zaake was last month referred to the Committee of Rules, Privileges, and Discipline chaired by Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu over alleged misconduct in Parliament. Tayebwa was forced to momentarily suspend the sitting of Parliament for nearly 30 minutes after Zaake refused to heed his calls to sit down.

Zaake, who had stood up to raise a matter of national importance concerning the recent arrest of Sheikh Yahaya Ramathan Mwanje, former presidential candidate, Joseph Kabuleta, and other NUP supporters such as Jamshid Kavuma, was ordered to sit down but he declined to heed the order shouting that he would not be silenced when Ugandans are suffering. NUP, the leaders of the opposition in Parliament have claimed since September that security agents have been kidnapping and torturing their supporters without trial. 

The Committee chairperson, Abdu Kantuntu, told journalists last week that the first witnesses in the investigations will be the technical staff of Parliament and the other specified MPs who were there at the time of the incident. Social Justice Center’s Habib Buwembo, who also belongs to the Forum for Democratic Change, and Haruna Mpuubi, a youth leader in National Unity Platform-NUP who spoke on behalf of the others thanked Zaake for mounting a one-man protest in Parliament and called upon other MPs to follow suit.

Additionally, they argued that the disciplinary committee sitting should be broadcast live so that people can see, which questions are asked to the MP and which offense he committed.   

For his part, Mpuubi, said that Opposition MPs must understand that people whose relatives and loved ones have been abducted have trust in them to speak out. 

This is not the first time Zaake has been sent for disciplinary action.

In February this year, Zaake was referred to the same Committee by the Speaker, Anita  Annet Among, following allegations that he used derogatory language towards her in his social media posts.

The Committee found Zaake guilty of the crime he was being accused of and subsequently he was stripped of his membership in the parliamentary commission, the highest governing body of parliament. 

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