Uganda: MPs Frustrated Over Absence of CCTV Footage in Zaake Disciplinary Case

5 December 2019

MPs sitting on the committee of rules, privileges and discipline have expressed concern over absence of CCTV footage in regard to what transpired between Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake and Makerere University Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe.

Appearing before the committee as a witness, Ms Nyiramahoro Annabelle, the District Police Commander (DPC) of Parliament on Thursday submitted a one minute footage from the CCTV which does not clearly show what transpired inside the conference hall of Parliament where the meeting and the alleged confrontation between Mr Zaake and Prof Nawangwe took place.

Ms Nyiramahoro told the committee that there are actually no cameras inside the room; they are only planted outside in the corridors, reason they could not capture what exactly transpired.

The revelation was quite a blow to the committee as MPs wondered how they would go on with their investigation without the most vital evidence which would have been the footage from the CCTV.

"This shows that there is a gap in the security system of Parliament. The same thing happened recently when we were investigating the matter between Gen Elly Tumwine and Hon Cecilia Ogwal, the footage was not suffice. Should we make a case on this as a committee? Mr Ongalo Obote Clement, the committee chairperson asked.

"I think it is time you review the use of those CCTVs so as to accord enough security to this institute of Parliament," he added.

Supplementing Mr Ongalo's view, Ms Namoe Stella Nyomera (Woman MP Napak District) said installing cameras in meeting rooms is something Parliament should have done as soon as possible, given the big number of people that come to the House and use the different meeting rooms, being a public institution.

"It is dangerous not to have those cameras in the committee rooms because this poses a threat to the security of MPs and staff of Parliament since so many people come here on a daily basis," Ms Nyomera said.

Meanwhile, Mr Emmanuel Ongiertho (Jonam County MP) who appeared as the third witness in the disciplinary hearing also pinned Zaake for being disrespectful to the person of the Vice Chancellor and rest of the committee members.

Mr Ongiertho said from the submissions Zaake made during the meeting, it was clear that he had specifically come to attack Prof Nawangwe, which he did from time to time as he kept interjecting with certain allegations as members of the university council made their submission.

It should also be noted that Mr Zaake is not a member of the Education committee of parliament, though according to Parliament's rules of procedure, an MP is free to attend any meeting but as an ex-officio to that particular committee.

Mr Jacob Opolot (Pallisa County MP), the chairperson of the education committee who appeared as the first witness in the ongoing probe this week, said Zaake overstepped his privilege by conducting himself in a manner that was rather uncouth for an honorable member of parliament.

The incident happened last month as Makerere University officials led by Prof Nawangwe and Council Chairperson, Lorna Magara appeared before the Education Committee which was at that time investigating the unrest that has risen at the university over the implementation of the 15 percent cumulative tuition increment.

Mr Zaake is expected to appear before the committee next week on Tuesday as the committee winds up the probe where a report will be presented to the Speaker of Parliament Ms Rebecca Kadaga.

Ms Kadaga ordered the probe following a complaint lodged to her office by Prof Nawangwe who protested poor and disrespectful treatment from Mr Zaake during the meeting.

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