KAMPALA – Jacob Opolot, the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Education Committee on Monday pinned embattled Francis Zaake (Mityana Municipality) on allegations that he assaulted the Makerere University Vice Chancellor, Barnabas Nawangwe during investigations into the violence that marred the University while students protested the 15% tuition increment.
While appearing before the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee as a witness, Opolot sided with Nawangwe arguing that Zaake’s conduct towards Nawangwe pre-meditated, unparliamentary, embarrassing and put the image of Parliament into disrepute.
Opolot alleged that before the meeting, Zaake was overheard by a fellow MP talking to someone on phone how he was going to beat Prof. Nawangwe and asked the other person at the end of the phone to tune into all television stations and watch the news.
“I will say the conduct of Zaake was so bad. It was so bad. I quickly realized something nasty was going to happen. He was so fully charged, shouted at me and called me a dictator even when actually I gave him more time to submit,” said Opolot.
The Education Committee Chairperson however denied having raised complaint about Zaake’s conduct to the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, but rather that the the complaint to the Speaker against Zaake’s conduct was lodged by Prof. Nawangwe and several other MPs.
Responding to questions on how Professor Nawangwe, responded to Zaake’s conduct, Opolot said that Nawangwe kept smiling as Zaake shouted and provoked him, adding that Zaake was unruly, kept going wild and his views were personal other than submissions.
It should be revealed that last month, Speaker Kadaga referred Zaake to the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee for investigations after accusations emerged that the Mityana Municipality MP had threatened to beat up Nawangwe.
While announcing her decision to send Zaake for investigation, Kadaga reminded MPs that their expected conduct within chambers and committee should enhance the dignity of Parliament and warned MPs against behaving in a manner that is derogatory to the dignity of Parliament.
While making her ruling, the Speaker accused Zaake of breach of code of conduct and that he lowered public trust in Parliament.
The Rules Committee is expected to hear from Prof. Nawangwe, and later meet with on Wednesday before making recommendations for Parliament to take final decision over the matter.