Parliament’s Rules, Privileges and Discipline Committee on Thursday questioned the Clerk to Parliament on the alleged withdrawal of Mityana Municipality MP, Francis Zaake’s security detail attached to him in his capacity as a Commissioner of Parliament.
While appearing before the committee recently in relation to its investigations into his alleged misconduct and use of unparliamentary language on the directive of the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, Zaake told MPs that he had already been found guilty of the allegations even before the matter first came to the floor of parliament.
He then said that his security detail as a Commissioner of Parliament was unceremoniously withdrawn without any explanation on February 11th, 2021.
Solomon Kirunda, Parliament’s acting Director of Litigation and Compliance on Thursday represented the Clerk to Parliament, Adolf Mwesige before the probe committee in regard to Zaake’s statement.
Asked by the committee chairperson Abdu Katuntu about the entitlements of a Parliamentary Commissioner, Kirunda said that all Commissioners are entitled to a fully furnished office, one station wagon vehicle, fuel deposited on a fuel card ,a driver who must have obtained a Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) and tested by the Ministry of Works and Transport, a personal assistant recommended by the Commissioner and must be a graduate, a monthly honorarium and two domestic servants.
Regarding security, Kirunda told the committee that it is not one of the entitlements of Parliamentary Commissioners.
He however hastened to add that during a Parliamentary Commission 93rd meeting held on 27th October, 2021, a concern was raised about the security of commissioners at their residences.
“A decision was taken that the Clerk or the Office of the Clerk liaises with the Inspector General of Police and handles the situation. So, security guards were provided at the residence of the Commissioners. As regards any other security like a body guard, any citizen who feels a threat, by law can apply to the IGP and get one but the Clerk to Parliament does not provide that,” Kirunda explained.
Further asked by Katuntu whether there is any security detail withdrawn by parliament, Kirunda said that there is no security detail withdrawn by parliament.
He however said that the Office of the Clerk is aware that MP Zaake had a body guard- Police Constable No. 40863, Esau Sam who was withdrawn by the IGP upon a complaint by the Division Police Commander of Parliament.
He said that Esau had been reported by the security personnel manning the main parliament gate for refusing to deposit his fire arm before entering the House premises.
Kirunda said that a complaint dated 10th February was sent to the IGP by Division Police Commander of Parliament, Steven Agaba and copied to the Clerk to Parliament.
He added that all Police Officers in the precincts of Parliament are deployed by the Inspector General of Police and are not staff or deployed by the Commission.
When asked by Butambala Woman MP, Aisha Kabanda whether the Clerk informed Zaake about complaints against his bodyguard and whether Zaake had complained about his withdrawal, Kirunda said that the Clerk had not made any communication to the Commissioner and that Zaake had also not complained.
Dokolo Woman MP, Cecilia Ogwal further queried whether the Clerk has information regarding the security personnel guarding MP Zaake’s home.
Kirunda responded saying that the guards that were offered had been allegedly rejected by MP Zaake saying that he wanted Counter-terrorism officers.
However, according to a loose minute seen by URN, MP Zaake on 18th November 2021 wrote to the Clerk to Parliament introducing to the office two counter-terrorism police officers and recommended that they be assigned to his home.
The police officers in the loose minute are identified as Etiang Lambert- PC, Police Force No. 62354 and Egau Martine –PC, Police Force No 66874.
The parliamentary commission is the top most organ of the House.The biggest opposition party, the National Unity Platform (NUP) nominated Zaake to the Parliamentary Commission as a back-bench member.
The other three back-bench Commissioners are from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.
The Commission is composed of the Speaker as chair, and also has the Deputy Speaker (Anita Among), the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja, the Leader of Opposition (Mathias Mpuuga), the Government Chief Whip (Thomas Tayebwa), and Finance Minister (Matia Kasaija)