Francis Zaake, the Member of Parliament for Mityana municipality, faced an unexpected change when he attempted to access his office, which he had been using as a commissioner in Parliament.
The Clerk of Parliament, in a communication to Zaake, informed him that he would no longer have access to his former office on the fifth floor, north wing of the Parliament buildings. This office boasted a scenic view of Kampala. Instead, Henry Waiswa, the Deputy Clerk of Corporate Affairs, notified Zaake that he had been assigned a new office, number 3.1, at the Queens Chamber Building on Parliamentary Avenue, approximately a five-minute walk from the main Parliament complex.
This transition did not sit well with Zaake, who insisted on retaining his previous office. He was accompanied by two individuals identified as Eron Kiiza and Saasi Marvin, both of whom were his lawyers. The situation was tense, and security personnel were on high alert.
Zaake voiced his dissatisfaction, saying, “If they don’t allow me access to the office, I will expose their secrets.” He made this statement to a group of journalists who had gathered around him.
Waiswa’s letter was supported by a communication from the Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Mwesige, dated March 1, 2023, in which Zaake was instructed to hand over the Commissioner’s office to the Sergeant at Arms.
The letter read in part, “The Sergeant at Arms is instructed to facilitate the issuance of office keys for the allocated office.” It appeared that the Parliament was determined to reassign the office to another individual.
Zaake had been reinstated as a commissioner of Parliament through a court ruling on Petition No. 06 of 2022: Zaake Francis V. AG. On September 28, 2023, the Constitutional Court overturned Parliament’s decision to suspend Zaake, citing a breach of parliamentary rules of procedure.
The court ruling clarified that the Speaker of Parliament and Bukedea Woman MP, Anita Among, did not have the necessary quorum to remove Francis Zaake from his position as a Commissioner of Parliament.
Despite the court’s support for Zaake’s reinstatement, he found himself unable to occupy his office legally due to the relocation. As a result, he left Parliament disappointed by the outcome.
In a letter drafted by Zaake’s legal representatives, the extent to which his access to the office was restricted was revealed. The letter stated, “As you know, during the proceedings that led to the judgment, the locks on the door of the office our client was using to execute his commissioner duties were changed by authorities at Parliament. Consequently, he has been operating from parliamentary corridors for over one year now.” This highlights the ongoing dispute and the measures taken to prevent him from accessing his former office.