KAMPALA – The Deputy Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament – Thomas Tayebwa was forced to suspend the plenary session for more than 30 minutes on Tuesday evening after Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake defied his directive on the procedure of raising a matter of national importance.
Zaake had sought a resolution of the House pertaining to the abduction of a former presidential candidate – Joseph Kabuleta, and Sheikh Yahya Ramadhan Mwanje – the deputy Amir of Jamatil Dawatil Salafiya Tabliq Community on Monday.
Plain-clothed security operatives riding in omnibuses popularly known as drones – separately pick up the two, detaining them at unknown locations. However, the Criminal Investigations Directorate – CID was quick to claim that Kabuleta was due to face charges of sectarianism while Sheikh Mwanje’s whereabouts remain unknown.
It is against the background that Zaake raised the matter in parliament to compel the Government to pronounce itself and denounce the persistent abduction of citizens without following lawful channels. He also singled out as example the earlier abduction of Jamshid Kavuma, a supporter of the opposition National Unity Platform – NUP party, and bodyguard to their party’s president, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine and three others.
Tayebwa as a tradition took up the matter as a personal attack onto his supremacy ordering Zaake to take his seat but the seemingly over-charged legislator insisted on concluding his submissions. Tayebwe tried to implore the Opposition Chief Whip, John Baptist Nambeshe to prevail over his member without success.
Chaos ensued and Zaake was whisked out of the House by the Sergeant-at-Arms. On the resumption of the House after 30 minutes, Tayebwa referred Zaake to the Committee on Rules and Privileges for redress.
Medard Sseggona Lubega, the Busiro County East Constituency legislator who stepped in for Mathias Mpuuga – the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament warned of more abductions and pleaded with Tayebwa to exercise patience and rescind his decision.
It is not the first time Zaake has stirred controversies in Parliament. On March 10, 2022, 155 out of 529 legislators voted to remove Zaake from the Parliamentary Commission for disparaging the then Deputy Speaker, Annet Anita Among.
The motion to remove Zaake was moved by Bardege-Layibi Division legislator, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi after the House adopted the majority report authored by the Rules, Privileges, and Discipline committee of parliament chaired by Abdu Katuntu – the Bugweri County Member of parliament.
Additional reporting by URN
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