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Norbert Mao Tackles Questions on Ugandans’ Minds in First DP Conference Since Being Appointed Minister

President Museveni and Norbert Mao. Courtesy Photos

Democratic Party (DP) President General Norbert Mao has attempted to responded to a number of questions that many Ugandans have been asking since he signed a cooperation agreement with ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) leader Gen Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni, and since the president appointed him Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister. 

In his first press conference at the DP headquarters at City House in Kampala, Mao attempted to answer some of the concerns raised by Ugandans.

Here are some of the responses on various issues:

On Being in Government

Being in government means that you no longer have to speak through the press conferences or shout on radios because you have the opportunity to talk to decision-makers. It will be our duty to make recommendations to the President of Uganda.

On Museveni Deal with Civilians

President Museveni is not known for signing anything with civilians. I know he signs with armed groups, but what does Mao have. I don’t even have a kitchen knife or army. This cooperation is a new trend for Uganda, but it is not a new trend in the world. Those splitting hairs about what will and won’t work, I welcome criticism.

On Bazukullu and War

The bazzukulu are the ones who should support this idea because if there is war, they are the ones who are going to fight it. In case the economy is destroyed, they are the ones who will suffer.


I told the Leader of Opposition that some parties with representation in Parliament do not want to join the Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue. We hope that since the NRM chairs the National Consultative Forum for Political Parties and the NUP is the deputy chair, we shall try to invest more in order to create a better climate for dialogue.

On National Dialogue

National dialogue is different from our thing of IPOD where we are accused of taking tea and bribes. This one is national. I don’t think that you can bribe 45 million Ugandans. The national dialogue is to allure the building blocks of Uganda to come together and craft a new consensus on how we can live together in peace. You can live in peace together with people you don’t like.

On Climate for Dialogue

It is true that the current climate is not conducive to dialogue. We cannot wait for good climate. That is why farmers do irrigation. You do whatever you can so that the crops don’t die. That is an important agenda that I shared with the parliamentary committee.

On Political Prisoners

The parliamentary committee also talked about political prisoners. I told them that the matter is in court, so it is also not necessary for me to create opinions. I do believe it is important to offer some fresh advice on how the government can deal with those cases.

On Conflict of Interest and DP-NRM Marriage

I told the committee that my terms of reference and the job that the Democratic Party will spearhead are clearly stated in the cooperation agreement. I urge Ugandans not to mix up a merger, coalition, alliance, and cooperation. Cooperation is on specific areas.

I also told the parliamentary committee that unlike other members of the Cabinet who are appointed based on either winning elections or on account of what the head of State thinks they can do for the government.  I have been appointed pursuant to a cooperation agreement.

On being misunderstood

People perceive joining the government as joining the NRM. I want to assure Ugandans that I will take that misunderstanding with charity and kindness. That is why you see, I have not been as tough as I usually am. The Norbert Mao, you know, would not just sit by and listen as people are calling me names. You know me better. I would at least release a few missiles. It is my duty that when people are speaking out of limited information, I give them information. Our duty is not to overreact when people misunderstand this cooperation.

On Media

The media has decided that this is a controversial agreement. I accept. History is made through controversy. The most controversial person in history is the Lord Jesus that I serve.

Proud of DP Management Committee

I am very proud of the Democratic Party Management Committee. It has 11 members, and I chair the committee as the President. The organ meets every Wednesday. I want to assure you that I briefed the Management Committee, and I am proud of the committee that nothing leaked for one full year.

I think DP leaders can manage government because they never leaked anything. I told them that I am in talks with Museveni and gave them the reasons.

On Transition

In Uganda, because of our violent history, we have never seen peaceful change. According to the agreement, the Democratic Party now has an opportunity to participate in government on the issues of peace and presidential transition.

On Alternative Ideas

For the DP leaders with good ideas, this is now your time to come up with recommendations. Fortunately, we have a lot of alternative policies on issues of national dialogue, and presidential transition, among others. It’s our duty to make these recommendations to the government.

Norbert Mao has previously made it clear that he is not about to resign as DP president and that he will go ahead and serve as a minister in Museveni’s government. (Read Story Here).

Norbert Mao has also revealed that he has trust in Museveni. He has also accused the country’s opposition of being a threat to a peaceful transition from Museveni’s long reign. (Read Stories Here and There).

The full cooperation agreement deal that Mao and Museveni signed last week can be found HERE.


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