Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Norbert Mao says that Uganda’s opposition, just like the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) government, is a threat to peaceful transition of power from President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni to another leader.
Museveni, currently aged 77, has ruled Uganda for 36 years, occupying the country’s top office since taking power in 1986 following a five-year guerilla war that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of lives.
Initially diagnosing the problem of Africa as leaders who overstay in power, Museveni would later change his stance to cling on, aided by controversial amendments to the country’s constitution from which the term and age limits were knocked years apart.
Winning a five-year-term in 2021, Museveni will have ruled the country for a record four decades when he completes his current term in 2026, a year he is likely to seek reelection for another term.
It should also be remembered that since independence in 1962, Uganda has not had any peaceful transition of power. Military coups and takeovers have characterized transitions in the impoverished East African nation’s post-independence history. Museveni himself went to the bush following the disputed 1980 presidential elections in which he had miserably lost.
Now, Mao, whose party has been part of Uganda’s pre- and post-independence politics, says both the opposition and Museveni’s NRM threaten Uganda’s dream of a first peaceful transition of power. Mao, the President General of the Democratic Party (DP), accuses both the opposition (which he has been part of) and the NRM government (to which he has crossed) of being radicals that would likely make it impossible for Uganda to achieve a peaceful transition.
“NRM and the opposition have very radical and violent extremists who need to be tamed. They are a threat to a peaceful transition,” said the new Museveni minister.
He further praised Museveni for being accommodative as opposed to “arrogant” opposition leaders.
“You have got to salute President Museveni for making these bold concessions. Very few opposition leaders can sign such a document,” argued Mao in an interview with NBS.
“Knowing how conceited, arrogant, and full of themselves they are, most of them would say, ‘We are the most powerful. Follow us or get lost.”
The embattled DP boss even claimed that “all political parties cooperate with the NRM,” adding that the difference was that while “with the DP, we cooperate on policy statements, other political parties cooperate on money.”
Meanwhile, Mao has made it clear that he trusts Museveni. (Read Story Here).