Ugandan President and ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) chairman Gen Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa has dismissed claims by opposition Democratic Party (DP) president general that their cooperation agreement between the two parties and principals includes working out Uganda’s first peaceful transition since independence.
Handed her independence from Great Britain 60 years ago, Uganda is yet to see a peaceful handover of power from one leader to another. And with a long-serving and elderly president, the issue of transition (or succession for some people) remains central to political debate.
When he signed a cooperation agreement with Museveni a few months ago, Mao said one of the issues was to clear the ground for the peaceful transfer of power from Gen Museveni to a new leader.
Appointed minister in charge of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Norbert Mao hinted on transition and national dialogue as the key issues his tenure will focus on.
Mao and his DP have continued to reap the benefits of their cooperation agreement with Museveni and the NRM, with the opposition party’s secretary general Gerald Siranda Blacks overwhelmingly voted by NRM MPs to become a member of the regional Eala Parliament. (Read Story Here).
But it seems the issue of transition is the red line beyond which the eloquent and brilliant Norbert Mao should not cross.
As far as Gen Museveni is concerned, the cooperation agreement between him and Norbert Mao does not include the issue of political transition.
In an interview with a local television station, the 78-year-old president and the country’s ruler of nearly four decades has explained that Mao’s appointment and the deal he signed with him and the NRM was one way of getting members of the political opposition into the government so that both sides can work together for the good of their country.
While Norbert Mao was almost talking about the issue of transition as though he is its midwife or overseer, Gen Museveni has told NBS that his NRM seeks to bring on board members of the opposition to work with government so as to reduce the number of people opposing the NRM, further making it clear that political transition was not part of the cooperation agreement.
You can read the full agreement between Museveni and Norbert Mao, word by word Here.
Museveni emphasized that fishing from the opposition is the NRM’s ‘old way of uniting anybody who agrees to unite with us.” He went on to say that Mao’s political transition talk could be a way of expressing his opinion and his approach to the succession question. The NRM boss also revealed that him and Mao have ‘broadly discussed’ the issue of unity, and not political transition.
As we reported a few weeks ago, Norbert Mao and Museveni’s son Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who is believed to be Uganda’s crown prince, have given different years they expect Museveni to peacefully hand over power. (Read Story Here).