KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Attorney General has asked the Constitutional Court to dismiss a petition in which Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament Francis Zaake is challenging the decision to remove him as a member of the P.
Zaake was impeached by Members of Parliament on March 10, following a motion by the Barledge Division Member of Parliament Ojara Mapenduzi. It is alleged that Zaake abused the Speaker on social media, which he said breached parliament decorum and public trust.
Zaake petitioned the Constitutional Court on grounds that there was procedural impropriety.
He explained that Parliament passed the resolution when there was no quorum which is supposed to be at least half of all voting members in the House.
Zaake also accuses members of the Rules Committee of being bribed with 6 Million Shillings each to participate in the committee proceedings that resulted in his removal from office.
He asked the court to compel each beneficiary to refund the money to the consolidated fund and reinstate him as a member of the Parliamentary Commission or else he will suffer irreparable damages.
On Thursday, the matter came up for hearing before a panel of five Constitutional Court Justices comprised of Catherine Bamugemereire, Christopher Izama Madrama, Stephen Musota, Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi, and Irene Mulyagonja.
Zaake’s lawyers led by Erias Lukwago, and the Attorney General were given three working days to put in additional documents clarifying on few legal matters in their already filed written submissions. Judgment will then be delivered on notice.
The Attorney General while relying on the affidavit of the Clerk to Parliament Adolf Mwesige, wants Zaake’s case dismissed with costs on grounds that it doesn’t raise any questions for Constitutional interpretation and that it’s misconceived without any merit.
Mwesige says Zaake was given the notice to consider the report of the committee that concerned him but he willfully neglected to attend the house, physically or virtually, or even respond to the issues raised in the complaint, motion committee report, and debate in the House.
“It is true that the Petitioner challenged the jurisdiction of the Committee. The Committee made a finding as to its jurisdiction and the proceedings continued. The petitioner failed to present a defense or interrogate the evidence adduced against him by staying away from the committee despite several invitations”, reads Mwesige’s affidavit in part.
According to Mwesige, Zaake chose to waive his right to be heard in the House the moment he decided not to attend proceedings concerning him despite several invitations.
Mwesige also denies that there were any payments made to members of the Committee as alleged and shall put Zaake on strict proof of his allegations.
According to Mwesige, the vote to remove Zaake was therefore in compliance with the rules of procedure of the Parliament of Uganda.
“I know that the motion was moved without notice but with permission of the Right Honorable Speaker on procedural matters and after suspension of the rules by Hon Alex Ruhunda”, adds Mwesige’s affidavit.
Zaake says that he is hopeful that the court will give him justice.
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