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Attorney General petitions court to block Zaake’s return as commissioner

Attorney General of Uganda, Mr Kiryowa Kiwanuka (L) and Mityana Municipality MP, Hon Francis Zaake Butebi (R)

Kampala, (UG): Mityana Municipality MP, Hon Francis Zaake’s return to parliament as Commissioner is facing yet another hurdle after the Attorney General filed a petition before the Supreme Court to overturn the recent ruling of the Constitutional Court that cleared him to assume his legislative duties on the parliamentary committee.

AG Kiryowa Kiwanuka, who filed the petition on behalf of the government expressed his dissatisfaction with sections of the ruling and wants the highest court in the land to intervene and have a final say on the NUP MP’s fate.

 “Take notice that the Attorney General being dissatisfied with parts of the majority judgment and orders of the Constitutional Court by Hon Lady Justice Irene Mulyagonja, Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi, Eva K Luswata and Oscar John Kihika delivered on September  28, 2023, intends to appeal to the Supreme Court of Uganda…,” a petition notice dated October 05 reads in part. 5.

The AG who is also the chief government legal adviser is against the ruling of the court which held that the members present during the passing of the resolution to remove Zaake was less than one-third and that Parliament disregarded rules of procedure during the debate and also that Ms Among acted as a judge in her own cause.

MP Zaake Francis Butebi was in March last year controversially impeached by his fellow MPs for allegedly insulting and making defaming statements against the person of then Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among on social media.

However, he appealed the impeachment through his lawyers of Lukwago and Co Advocates and last month on September 28, the justices of the constitutional court ruled in his favour when they quashed his impeachment and ordered that he be reinstated to his commissioner position.

In a majority decision of 4:1, the judges reasoned that there was no requisite quorum of one-third of all the MPs in the House that passed the resolution to relieve him of his position as commissioner.

They also observed that there were only 161 MPs present in the House at the time of passing the resolution to impeach MP Zaake instead of the required 264 members.

Further in their decision, the justices observed that Ms Among had a conflict of interest when she continued to chair the parliamentary proceedings leading to the questioned removal of MP Zaake from office.

“The then Deputy Speaker acted as a judge in her own cause when she continued chairing Parliament in a matter in which she had a personal interest; the resultant proceedings contravened or were inconsistent with Articles 2 (1) and (2), 8A, 28, 42 and 44 (c) of the Constitution and were null and void,” held Justice Irene Mulyagonja in the lead judgment.

The Attorney General’s filing of the appeal notice came at the time when Zaake’s lawyers led by Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago had written to the Clerk to Parliament, demanding that he be reinstated to his position following the court ruling.

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