Vice Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, Ambassador Denis Polisi has hit back at embattled Liberal Party (PL) MP Elie Ngirabakunzi who last week branded him a ‘cowboy’.
“This is blasphemous to someone like me holding a big position in Parliament,” a seemingly furious Polisi said over the weekend.
“Does he (Ngirabakunzi) know the history of cowboys? I highly doubt if he knows the magnitude of that statement,” he wondered.
Ngirabakunzi on Thursday attributed his ongoing political woes to ‘cowboys’ citing Polisi and other officials in the National Electoral Commission (NEC) whom he did not name.
The statement came after Polisi, acting in capacity of Speaker, wrote to NEC requesting it to announce replacements for Ngirabakunzi and Isaie Murashi in the Chamber of Deputies.
But Ngirabakunzi, one of the most outspoken parliamentarians, said ‘cowboys’ were plotting his downfall.
Polisi said: “I believe everybody knows that whatever he said about me are all lies,” he said. He described the two MPs as ‘cheap people’ who have tried to attack him but ‘cannot disturb my mind’.
He denied he was influenced by anybody to demand that NEC replaces the duo. “I have full constitutional rights to make an independent decision. They lied to the media, I did everything according to the law and I still feel comfortable with the decision I took. I am not guilty at all.”
“I am surprised that when an institution takes a decision, it’s blamed on an individual. It was necessary for Parliament to declare that the seats of Murashi and Ngirabakunzi’s were now vacant,” he added. He however said that he would not take legal action against Ngirabankuzi.
Polisi also had no kind words for the media which he blamed for reporting ‘biased information’ on the controversy surrounding the two MPs and the Liberal Party (PL).
Polisi accused the media of being ‘unethical’ and siding with the embattled PL lawmakers.
“These people (Ngirabakuzi and Murashi) have influenced some journalists who have also become their sympathisers. My name has featured in many articles but surprisingly no journalist has ever bothered to call me or come to my office for my side of the story,” he said.
The party on September 27 expelled Ngirabakunzi and Murashi as deputies and PL members, sparking a legal battle.
However on Friday, the High Court rejected the duo’s application for a court injunction to block their replacement, but said they were still parliamentarians until their announced successors are sworn-in.
NEC announced Francois Udahemuka and Charles Kamanda as their replacements, and they are expected to take the oath of office today failure of which means they cannot join the august House.
Beginning tomorrow (October 10) no person can join the current Lower House as it would be remaining with only one year to the end of its mandate.
The deputies started their five-year mandate on October 10, 2003. Polisi said that shortly after Ngirabakunzi and Murashi were expelled from the House, their lawyers (Mbaga Tuzimbe Mbonyimbura and Flobert Karuranga) wrote to Bureau of the Chamber of Deputies and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to block replacement of their clients.
“That was totally improper. Lawyers do not have legal authority to give instructions to the Legislature or advise us on what to do.
We are not answerable to these two lawyers. They should respect state institutions. Parliament is a big institution that is guided by the Constitution in its operations,” he added.