The Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament, Francis Zaake, has stormed the Constitutional Court demanding the judgment from his petition challenging his impeachment as a Parliamentary Commissioner. The petition originated from a resolution passed by Parliament on March 10th, 2020, which removed Zaake from the parliamentary commission due to alleged indiscipline.
The decision was based on a report from the Rules, Discipline, and Privileges Committee, which found Zaake in breach of public trust and parliamentary decorum. Zaake’s trouble began when he criticized the Speaker on social media for her comments during a plenary session honoring legislators and staff who had participated in the East African Legislative Assembly Games.
Dissatisfied with his impeachment, Zaake filed a petition with the Constitutional Court in March 2022, claiming procedural impropriety in the parliamentary resolution. In his petition, Zaake accused members of the Rules Committee of receiving bribes of 6 million Shillings each from public funds for participating in the committee proceedings that led to his removal.
He asked the court to compel the beneficiaries to refund the money. Zaake also asked the court to halt the implementation of the impeachment resolution until his case is determined to prevent irreparable damage. The Constitutional Court panel, consisting of Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, Christopher Izama Madrama, Stephen Musota (now elevated to the Constitutional Court), Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi, and Irene Mulyagonja, heard Zaake’s case and concluded the hearing in June 2022.
However, he has been waiting for the judgment to be delivered in vain prompting him to storm the Constitutional Court on Monday, accusing the Justices of undue delay. According to Zaake’s lawyers from Lukwago and Company Advocates, they met with Justice Geoffrey Kiryabwire, the Administrator of the Constitutional Court, to discuss their concerns.
They were informed that the delay was due to a lack of quorum caused by the elevation of Justice Musota, one of the justices on the panel that heard the petition, to the Supreme Court. Justice Madrama, who was also part of the panel, has also been promoted to the Supreme Court.
Justice Kiryabwire reportedly assured Zaake and his legal team that a decision on how to proceed with writing the judgment would be made by Friday, taking into account the absence of Justice Musota. During the hearing of the case, the Attorney General, relying on the affidavit of the Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Mwesige, argued that Zaake’s petition should be dismissed with costs as it did not raise any constitutional questions and lacked merit.
Mwesige stated that Zaake had been given the notice to consider the committee report but chose not to attend the proceedings or respond to the issues raised despite several invitations.