By Charles Etukuri
Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament Francis Zaake on Friday, January 13, 2023, protested a raid by Police at his home in which a government car he had refused to hand over was retrieved.
In a social media message, Zaake said armed forces acting on the Clerk to Parliament’s instructions raided his home, in his absence, and seized the motor vehicle assigned to him as a Commissioner of Parliament.
“You might recall that through Constitutional Petition No. 06 of 2022, I challenged my unlawful removal from the Commission and any subsequent attempts to deny me the tools I need to execute my functions. At the hearing of that petition, Parliament’s lawyers undertook to respect the court process by refraining from any further action that may disrupt the status quo,” Zaake said.
He described the Thursday event as disturbing and noted that instead of waiting for the Judgment, Parliamentary authorities had resorted to acting with impunity and in contempt of Court.
“Their conduct yesterday was a savage attack on the rule of law which renders Parliament subject to and bound by judicial process. The incident is yet another example of what it means to have leaders and institutions that are neither accountable to the people nor to the law. I am consulting my lawyers on the way forward,” Zaake added.
On Friday, Chris Obore, Parliament’s director of communication and public affairs, confirmed the Police, acting on the directive of the Clerk to Parliament, raided Zaake’s home and recovered the car he had refused to hand over.
He noted that the car was delivered to Parliament, where it is now parked.
The car had been given to the National Unity Platform (NUP) legislator for his use as a commissioner in Parliament.
But he ceased being a parliamentary commissioner after being voted out by fellow MPs in March last year (2022) due to misconduct.
Obore said the vehicle belongs to the Parliamentary Commission.
“The Clerk to Parliament had severally advised Zaake to follow the guidelines governing management of government fleet and return the car but he declined,” said Obore.
In March last year, 156 out of 161 MPs voted to remove Zaake as commissioner.
The vote followed a debate on the report of a parliamentary committee chaired by Bugweri County MP Abdu Katuntu that found Zaake had breached public trust and confidence.
He was probed by Parliament over a statement he had reportedly made on social media against then-Deputy Speaker Anita Among, who is now the Speaker.
Zaake’s message was seen as an attack on the Deputy Speaker, setting in motion events that led to his being voted out as a parliamentary commissioner.