Erias Lukwago, the lawyer representing embattled Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament, Francis Zaake (NUP), has called for the suspension of the ongoing probe into Zaake’s alleged misconduct. Lukwago argues that the investigation should be halted due to the current restriction barring opposition MPs from participating in parliamentary activities. This demand was made during the cross-examination of witnesses, including Juliet Kinyamatama, before Parliament’s Rules, Privileges, and Discipline Committee on Monday, November 27.
Lukwago emphasized that Zaake, being among the opposition MPs barred from Parliament, should not appear before the committee to avoid potential accusations of defying the Speaker’s directive. He revealed plans to challenge the Speaker’s ruling on the floor of the House, asserting that Parliament is in a legal conundrum, hindering committees from functioning properly.
The committee’s presiding chairperson, Rev. Fr Charles Onen, clarified that Zaake, appearing as a witness, would not be barred from the committee. However, Lukwago argued that Zaake is being investigated as a Member of Parliament, not as a stranger, and asserted that he would not represent his client in his absence.
Kinyamatama contended that Zaake’s non-appearance was a waste of taxpayers’ money, arguing that the Speaker did not prohibit any MP from accessing Parliament. She demanded that the committee listen to her witnesses, invited by Parliament, emphasizing the importance of their testimony.
Lukwago criticized Kinyamatama’s presentation of witnesses as irregular, asserting that it is the committee’s discretion to decide which witnesses testify. He further noted that the three committee MPs present did not constitute a quorum to deliberate on the Zaake-Kinyamatama case, urging a halt to the probe.