KAMPALA – Parliament has agreed to extend the time given to the Committee of Rules, Privileges and Discipline to complete investigations into the conduct of the Mityana Municipality MP, Francis Zaake where he is accused of threatening to beat Makerere University Vice-Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.
The extension was communicated by Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga during Wednesday’s plenary sitting following a request made by Edward Makmot Otto, Vice-Chairperson of the Committee who said that much as they were given two weeks to investigate the matter and report back to Parliament, the time was minimal.
He said, “On the 7th November 2019, the House tasked the committee to investigate into the conduct of Zaake and report back in two weeks to consider the matter. The Committee wasn’t able to start immediately because of earlier commitments of witnesses they had outside the country. The Committee has met all the witnesses and left with report writing. The initial meeting with Zaake didn’t take place because of corruption walk many MPs and staff weren’t around Parliament.”
When the question was posed before the lawmakers, by Kadaga, the MPs agreed to extend the time for the Rules Committee up to January when Parliament will take the final decision over the matter.
The development comes at the time Zaake denied threatening to beat up the Makerere University Chancellor, Barnabas Nawangwe within Parliament premises saying that it is instead his life that was threatened for fighting for the rights of students.
Zaake made the remarks this morning while appearing before the Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee of Parliament that was directed by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga to investigate claims that Zaake behaved dishonourably when officials from Makerere University appeared before the Education Committee in November.
The lawmaker said, “As far as I remember I behaved in a very parliamentary manner, I conducted well even when the professor threatened my life. I didn’t behave in a way that is very disrespectful.”
He described Nawangwe’s accusations against him as dishonest, malicious and only intended to divert the country from the issues affecting students at Makerere University.
The unsupported comments from Nawangwe are dishonest, exaggerated and malicious. I behaved in a manner that no reasonable person can interpret as an attempt to physically attack the person of Nawangwe.”
However, Committee Chairperson, Ongalo Obote faulted Zaake for raising issues regarding death threats he received saying he should have raised the matter on the floor of Parliament.
Ongalo also told Zaake that the Committee wasn’t going to consider remarks that Nawangwe described MPs as toothless barking dogs who have no capacity to handle issues at Makerere University because there is no evidence to back up these claims.
James Acidri (Maracha East) said it is in human nature that one would be angered by the way Makerere University handled students during the recent strike, but asked Zaake to consider seeking apology for acting with anger towards Nawangwe.
This was in the midst of Zaake’s insistence that he never threatened Nawangwe but simply expressed his concerns which had been ignored during the Education Committee meeting, saying Prof Nawangwe was smiling and wondered how the Prof could say he felt threatened when he was smiling throughout their interaction.