Plenary session suspended as female MPs attempt to ‘discipline’ Zaake

Plenary session suspended as female MPs attempt to 'discipline' Zaake
Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake (centre) is led away by fellow MPs after he was attacked by female legislators.

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | In an unusual turn of events within Uganda’s Parliament, female MPs took a stand against derogatory remarks made by a male counterpart, Mityana Municipality MP, Francis Zaake, resulting in an unexpected altercation. The incident, which transpired on Thursday 12, October 2023, led to the suspension of the session by Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa until next week Tuesday.

The controversy stemmed from a video in which Mityana Municipality MP, Francis Zaake, was seen directing offensive language at Rabai Woman MP, Juliet Kinyamatama. This video was brought to the House’s attention during a discussion regarding Uganda’s Independence Day celebrations.

Hon. Juliet Kinyamatama had initially requested that the video be played and that action be taken against Mr Zaake for his defamatory comments directed at her. She noted that on October 9, during her constituency visit, Mr Zaake had used inappropriate language towards her, which she found offensive.

“On October 9, one of our members, the Hon. Zaake, came to my constituency and used defamatory words against me that I cannot mention here,” Hon. Kinyamatama said.

At the outset, some MPs rejected Kinyamatama’s request, citing procedural issues since it was not on the plenary’s agenda. However, Deputy Speaker Tayebwa emphasized that Hon. Kinyamatama had every right to raise the issue, stating, “Point of procedure comes at any time. A member has raised the point of procedure, allow the member to say what she is saying then I will rule whether she is procedurally right or not.”

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Initially, Mr Tayebwa ruled against playing the video in the House and instead decided to forward the complaint to the House’s Disciplinary Committee for further review. However, he later reconsidered his decision due to Hon. Kinyamatama’s persistence.

When the video was eventually played, it led to chaos within the House, resulting in a ten-minute suspension of the session. Upon the session’s resumption, the video was played again, but disturbances from outside the plenary hall disrupted the proceedings.

As a result, Deputy Speaker Tayebwa rescheduled the session for the following Tuesday. Subsequently, female MPs expressed that Mr Francis Zaake was fortunate to be escorted out of the House, as they had planned to address his offensive remarks directly.