By Simon Abaho
Mityana Municipality MP, Francis Zaake has dragged government to court for removing him from the position of as a Commissioner of Parliament.
A total of 155 legislators last week voted to remove Zaake as commissioner of parliament after being found guilty of misconduct over his abusive tweets directed towards the deputy Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among.
On Thursday, exactly a week after being removed from the position, Zaake through his lawyers of Lukwago and Company Advocates ran to the Constitutional Court challenging the actions of Parliament.
The legislator says that events surrounding his censure and removal from the Parliament Commission were illegal and contravened the 1995 Constitution of Uganda.
“The act of Parliament of disregarding rule 11(5) of the Rules of Procedure that operationalises the non derogable right to be heard during proceedings that culminated into removing the petitioner from the office of the Commissioner of Parliament on March, 10, 2022 was in contravention of Articles 2(1) and (2), 8A,28, 42, 44(C ), 79(3), 88 and 94(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda,” Zaake says in his petition.
The legislator also says the act of the deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among who was the victim of Zaake’s alleged actions presiding over proceedings in parliament that led to his removal was illegal and contravened provisions of the constitution.
Zaake also says that it was wrong and illegal for Among to make personal and individual grievance a subject of investigations by Parliament’s Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline which resulted into his removal as a commissioner of parliament .
“The act of the deputy Speaker of giving parliament’s committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline and ultimatum of 14 days to investigate allegations of misconduct against the petitioner and report back to the House contravened Articles 2(1) and (2), 8A,28, 42, 44(C), 79(3)and 94(1) of the Constitution.”
He also says that the act of Parliament’s Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee investigating him over allegations of non-parliamentary work on social media outside parliament was unlawful .
According to Zaake, the presentation, debating and adoption of the motion to amend the majority report of the parliamentary committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline to find him unfit to hold the office of the Commissioner of Parliament was illegal.
“The ex gratia payment of shs6 million to each Member of Parliament on the Committee of Rules, Privileges and Discipline as a reward for their participation in the committee’s proceedings and subsequent decision prejudicial to the petitioner imposed an illegal charge on the consolidated fund in contravention of Article 93 of the Constitution of Uganda.”
He also says that the motion for his removal from the office of the Commissioner of Parliament was smuggled onto the floor of parliament as it was not on the order paper, contrary to Article 94(1) of the Constitution and Rule 110 of parliament’s Rules of Procedure.
Zaake now wants the Constitutional Court to declare that the passing of a resolution removing him from the office of the Commissioner of Parliament and requiring him to apologise to parliament within one week without quorum in the House contravened the Constitution and rules of procedure in Parliament.
“The petitioner prays that this court issues an order annulling the report of parliament’s committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline and its subsequent amendment to find the petitioner unfit to hold the office of Commissioner of Parliament on March, 10, 22 being inconsistent with or in contravention of the Constitution.”
Zaake also wants court to issue a permanent injunction prohibiting government, its agents, servants or any other persons acting under its authority from implementing the March, 10, 2022 resolution of removing him from Parliamentary Commission and taking disciplinary action against him over non-parliamentary work on social media.
“The petitioner (Zaake) prays for an award of damages to him due to the psychological torture, mental anguish, inconvenience and pain occasioned to him arising out of the actions complained of in the petition,” court documents in a petition where the Attorney General has been listed as a respondent.