Zaake had testified in front of the committee for allegedly defaming Deputy Speaker Anita Among’s person and the institution of Parliament.
Francis Zaake, a Mityana municipality representative, has disputed the Parliamentary Committee on Rules, Privileges, and Discipline’s power to investigate activities allegedly occurring outside the Parliamentary premises.
Zaake, who appeared before the committee on Monday with his two lawyers, Eron Kiiza and Benjamin Katana, said the allegations against him are spiteful, false, and made in ill faith.
“Let it be known right away that I contest this Committee’s jurisdiction to investigate matters claimed to have occurred outside of Parliament’s precincts,” he said. As a result, I’m only here out of respect for you, my colleagues, and this institution, but also because I need to defend myself.”
The Mityana MP claims that the committee’s particular activities are the result of an unavoidable conflict of interest.
“”Even before the subject was brought to Parliament’s attention, I had already been convicted guilty of these charges. He remarked, “The protection detail to which I am entitled as a commissioner was abruptly withdrawn without explanation.”
“”I feel that the purpose of these proceedings is not to establish the truth. Their goal is to tie the rope that the mob will use to hang me after hanging me to match the story that I committed suicide.”
In his remarks, Zaake also stated that the Deputy Speaker Among, not himself, should come before the committee.
“However, I forgive her.” “I forgive her not only for mocking my plight, but also for the mob justice she is ready to administer against me,” Mityana MP said.
Gulu West Member of Parliament Ojara Martin Mapenduzi, who was selected by the National Unity Platform (NUP) as the head of the Local Government’s Commission, moved the resolution to expel Zaake as a parliament commissioner.
The same party that chose Mapenduzi also appointed Zaake as a Parliament Commissioner.
According to rule 110 of the rules of procedure of parliament, Zaake should be removed from office.
Amolatar Woman Member of Parliament Atim Agnes Apea of the ruling National Resistance Movement seconded Mapenduzi’s motion (NRM).
Zaake’s entire statement can be found here.
Respectfully, Chairperson and Colleagues
With respect, I would want to state right away that I do not believe this Committee has the authority to investigate events that occurred beyond the confines of Parliament. As a result, I’m just here out of respect for you, my colleagues, and this institution, rather than to defend myself.
Nonetheless, and just for the record, let it be known that I believe the claims leveled against me are vicious, false, and made in bad faith. Likewise, these proceedings are unjust to me because they are based on an unavoidable conflict of interest. Please consider the following background to understand why I say this:
When the Rt. Hon. Deputy Speaker made a nasty joke about me as a torture victim on February 8, 2022, I was horrified and extremely offended. Rt. Hon. Anita Among said that day, as she chaired over a debate about security agencies’ widespread torture of citizens,
“Despite the fact that [Hon. Zaake] was tortured, as you mentioned, he was able to earn a gold medal.”
Those remarks, Mr. Chairperson, are on the Hansard. They were made by the Deputy Speaker in regard to the recent East African Parliamentary Games, in which I was awarded a gold medal.
Even when listened to objectively, such remarks suggested that the Deputy Speaker believes one of two things:
(a) I’ve been lying about being tortured; or (b) I’ve exaggerated the amount of my injuries on each of the five (5) occasions in which I’ve been ruthlessly tormented in the last four years; or (c) torture is a blessing in disguise for its victims and thus a minor issue in this country.
Mr. Chairperson, in recent days, some social media comments apparently in response to the Speaker’s offensive joke have been ascribed to me, despite the fact that I did not make them.
The same Deputy Speaker who made light of my suffering and humiliation referred me to this Committee for “trial” because of that purported but unconfirmed social media response.
It is also because of that purported reaction that my Honourable colleagues, particularly those from the ruling party, have formed a nasty mob intent on lynching me on the floor of Parliament, in a session presided over by the same Deputy Speaker, regardless of the outcome of these proceedings.
To them, the supposed answer reported to have been made by me is evidently worse than the multiple times I was left laying in a pool of my own blood on the frigid floor following a session of torture.
As a result, I hope you appreciate that I do not believe these processes are intended to prove the truth. Their goal is to tie the rope with which the crowd will hang me after hanging me to match the story that I committed suicide.
As a member of the country’s political opposition, I’ve had to bear that narrative on more occasions than any law-abiding citizen would like. So, it’s up to their conscience how quickly they lynch me; I’ve accepted my fate, and my conscience is clear.
After all, I was found guilty of these claims even before the subject was brought to Parliament’s attention: on February 11th, my security detail, which I am entitled to as a Commissioner of Parliament, was abruptly withdrawn without explanation. Mr. Chairperson, that was my first punishment.
Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice-Chairman, Mr. Vice-Chairman, Mr On all of the occasions when I was tortured by national security officers, I was already a Member of Parliament. On three of those occasions, soldiers of the Special Forces Command (SFC), the military unit that protects Mr. Yoweri Museveni and some members of Parliament, tortured me. Please allow me to provide some background on each of them:
1. Members of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces assaulted and battered me into a coma in September 2017. This occurred on the floor of the House of Commons.
2. Soldiers from the SFC stormed into my hotel room in Arua District in August 2018. They assaulted me with punches and kicks. With large sticks, they clobbered me. With gun bayonets, I was slashed. They used pliers to remove my flesh and nails, then dragged me down the stairs before abandoning me at a police station to die.
3. In April 2020, police and military officers commanded by RPC Bob Kagarura and DPC Mwiine Alex Mukono broke into my residence in my constituency, battered and handcuffed me, and then dragged me out by the trousers.
The officers then unloaded a can of pepper spray into my eyes and chained my legs and hands together as they clobbered me in the next several moments. My body was suspended beneath the seats of a police truck, and I was driven from Mityana to Kampala in excruciating pain.
Officers seated above me poked me with sharp objects from time to time during that horrible voyage, ridiculing and laughing at me.
They held me incommunicado in a safe house for more than a week once I arrived in Kampala. They beat me on a daily basis with weapons like what felt like a huge stick coated with barbed wire during that period. In H.C.M.C. No. 85 of 2020, the court confirmed that
4. In January 2021, soldiers brutalized and knocked me out outside the home of my President, H. E. Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, whom I had gone to see while detained at his home following the presidential elections in 2021.
5. The most recent event occurred on December 14, 2021, just a few weeks ago. On that day, SFC troops attacked me when I was campaigning for Ms. Harriet Nakwedde, a fellow party member running for LC5 Chairperson in Kayunga District.
They whipped me and that helpless lady cruelly with thick electric wires and long sticks (enkoni), which are usually used to herd cattle. It’s worth noting that, despite the fact that I was already a Commissioner of this Parliament at the time, Parliament took action.
So, Mr. Chairperson and colleagues, if you were the victims of this recurrent torture, as I am, you can imagine how upset and enraged I was to see my Speaker make a joke of the life-threatening torment I have repeatedly endured without justice.
This is someone with whom I attend meetings of the Parliamentary Commission. She can see the deep, many scars of torture that I have on my body up close, which even my generally dark skin color couldn’t disguise.
Multiple acts of torture have left me with a lingering case of post-traumatic stress disorder. I can’t sleep with the lights turned off, let alone without music playing.
I’m no longer able to stand with my feet firmly planted on the ground. My kids now stand with their feet twisted at an angle because they think it’s “cool” to do so in their youth.
I’ve had to pay medical bills that aren’t covered by my Parliamentary insurance. After being tortured, I spent several torturous weeks in hospital having treatment, which has scarred my wife and children.
Despite all of this, I continue to receive nasty statements from government officials and security spokespersons who accuse me of fabricating the torture. The Speaker of Parliament was the last person I anticipated to be nasty to me because she is a wife, a mother, and the head of an institution that should be doing everything in its power to rehabilitate me rather than further victimizing me.
If you were me, you’d understand how difficult it is for me to believe she should be the one testifying before this Committee rather than me. Nonetheless, I pardon her. Not only do I forgive her for making fun of my situation, but I also forgive her for the mob punishment she is going to administer against me.
For God and My Country.
MP Mityana Municipality / Commissioner of Parliament”