Parliament has taken the contentious decision to deny Francis Zaake, the legislator for Mityana Municipality, access to his office as commissioner of Parliament. This action follows a court ruling that affirmed Zaake’s right to retain his position, sparking a heated dispute.
The ongoing dispute unfolded on November 1st, 2023, when Zaake, accompanied by members of his legal team, attempted to access his office but were met with resistance from Parliament authorities.
The legal battle began in September when the court ruled in favor of Zaake, asserting that he had been unjustly removed from his role as commissioner of Parliament. The court’s decision rested on the premise that there had been an insufficient quorum when Parliament made the initial decision to oust Zaake.
As a result of the court’s ruling, Zaake was not only reinstated as commissioner but was also entitled to all the associated privileges. However, the recent events indicate that Parliament is unwilling to comply with the court’s decision.
Zaake expressed his frustration at the situation, stating, “When I went there this morning to resume my duties, they informed me that Parliament is not ready to abide by the Court’s decision.” In response to this, Parliament, through a backdated letter dated March, advised Zaake to find alternative office space outside the parliamentary building, thus ignoring the court’s orders.
Chris Obore, the director of communication at Parliament, provided Parliament’s perspective on the matter. He explained that Zaake’s access to his office had been denied due to Parliament’s ongoing challenge to the court’s ruling. The Attorney General had informed Parliament that an appeal had been filed, and there had been no update on the case’s progress.
The initial action against Zaake, which resulted in his removal from the commissioner’s position, was taken when he made derogatory statements about Speaker of Parliament Anita Annet Among. Following this incident, Among referred Zaake to the disciplinary committee, which subsequently found him guilty.
The dispute between Zaake and Parliament underscores the intricate dynamics between the judiciary and legislative branches in Uganda and raises questions about the enforcement of court rulings in the country. The situation remains unresolved, with legal proceedings expected to continue until a resolution is reached.