The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has rejected the apology from Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake.
Sources who preferred anonymity in order not to jeopardize their relationship with the powerful deputy speaker, said Zaake went to Anita’s office with a written apology but she declined accepting it instead asking him to use the same channels he used while slandering her.
“He came to her office with a letter asking for forgiveness but she said she wants him to say those words on his social media pages. She tried to give him time but it seems there were other forces against this public apology,” our source said.
The source further added that other MPs on the opposition including their leader Mathias Mpuuga Nsamba too tried to reach out to the deputy speaker to forgive Zaake but she stuck to her guns without a public apology.
Zaake allegedly used his social media platforms Facebook and Twitter to castigate Among for trying to suggest that he was not tortured. He has since deleted the messages. Among while congratulating the parliamentary team for winning medals in the East African Parliamentary games congratulated Zaake for winning a gold medal in athletics despite the fact that he had previously sustained broken legs after he was tortured.
Known for not taking prisoners, he called out the deputy speaker using a language that MPs said was not only disrespectful to the person of Among but also the whole institution of parliament.
Another source close to the National Unity Platform leadership also told URN that the party President Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu is one of those who asked Zaake not to make a public apology.
“He reasoned that that would portray him in bad light among our supporters because it would look like he is fighting for positions like many of our party colleagues have been accused of,” the source said. In the end, 155 MPs against four, voted in favour of censure and the motion was carried despite of cries from the opposition that several rules of procedure were broken in the process.
Another source close to Kyagulanyi told URN that he is not going to make any appointment to fill Zaake’s position.
“He says he has already made his choice and he will not be appointing another person. Zaake is going to be reappointed in the same position and if he is rejected, then we shall petition court because so many illegalities were committed,” the source said.
David Lewis Rubongoya, the Secretary General of NUP said they haven’t yet met to agree on their next course of action, they agree with a court process to overturn the parliamentary decision.
Rubongoya said as the party, they take what happened in parliament as another affront on NUP but said it will not stop them from pushing for change in the country.
On whether the party had sanctioned Zaake to have private amends with the deputy speaker, Rubongoya said they had no objection to it provided that he didn’t apologize.
“We believe that Zaake didn’t commit any offence. We believe that it is the deputy speaker who should have appeared before that committee on rules and privileges to answer questions because it is her who first mocked him yet the public knows how many times Zaake has been tortured. So there wouldn’t be any reason why Zaake would apologize to her.
However, there were efforts to resolve the issue amicably but which didn’t involve Zaake apologizing to the deputy speaker,” Rubongoya said.
brahim Ssemujju Nganda, the MP for Kira municipality and Forum for Democratic Change whip said it is wrong for parliament to seek to reprimand an MP for having misunderstandings with the speaker. He said moving forward, there must be a non-legalistic mechanism through which disagreements can be resolved.
On whether Zaake should apologize to parliament in seven weeks like Among ordered, Ssemujju said that would be double jeopardy because censuring him was punishment enough. Ssemujju himself in the ninth parliament had a fallout with the then deputy speaker Jacob Oulanyah who ordered the police to drag him out of the parliamentary chambers.
Ssemujju declined to apologize to Oualanyah after his suspension for three sittings.
Ssemujju also weighed in on whether NUP should appoint another person to replace Zaake as Commissioner.
He said with his experience while they held the opposition, a clash with the speaker might be zero some if one side chooses not to stand down. He said previously when they had disagreements with the then speaker Rebecca Kadaga, she declined to accept their parliamentary appointments and they had nothing to do about it.