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Zaake-Kinyamatama : Parliament Requests High Court to Dismiss Lawyer Mabirizi’s Case

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Parliament has urged the High Court in Mbale to reject a petition by lawyer Male Mabirizi challenging the Deputy Speaker’s decision to forward Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake to the Rules, Privileges, and Discipline Committee for investigation.

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa made this decision on October 12, 2023, following allegations by Rakai Woman MP Juliet Suubi Kinyamatama that Zaake used offensive language towards her during a visit to her constituency.

Mabirizi filed a petition on October 16, 2023, contesting Tayebwa’s decision, arguing that the Deputy Speaker acted with a prejudiced perspective. He asked the court to declare the decision illegal, procedurally unsound, and irrational, seeking to prevent Parliament from conducting investigations into Zaake.

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Zaake faced allegations after attending the National Unity Platform-NUP party’s Independence Cup football tournament in Lwamaggwa village, Buyamba Constituency, Rakai District. It was claimed that Zaake insulted Kinyamatama, using derogatory language and questioning her suitability.

In response to Mabirizi’s petition, James Mukaga, an employee of the Parliamentary Commission, argued that Mabirizi lacks sufficient interest to bring the case, stating the application is premature, devoid of merit, and should be dismissed with costs. Mukaga emphasized Parliament’s authority to regulate its functions and the Speaker’s discretion to refer matters to the Rules, Privileges, and Discipline Committee.

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Mukaga clarified that neither the Constitution nor Parliament’s Rules of Procedure necessitate the Speaker to hear a member before referring a matter to the Committee. He highlighted the quasi-judicial proceedings of the Committee, noting that Zaake and his lawyer appeared before it and the matter was adjourned for further review. This is the third time Zaake has been referred to the discipline committee.

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Initially, he was referred for missing ten consecutive sittings and later for verbal attacks on the Speaker, Anita Among, via Twitter. Dissatisfied with the Committee’s decision, Zaake had previously petitioned the Constitutional Court.

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