Norbert Mao, the President and Chairman General of the Democratic Party (DP) has made it clear that he will not resign as the political organization’s boss despite calls by some leaders in his own party that he should quit if he wants to take up a job as Minister of Justice in President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s government.
As it stands now, Mao is keen on taking up the ministerial position. Indeed, he appeared before Parliament’s Appointments Committee this Friday, July 22 morning. The former presidential candidate was vetted and his appointment approved by the Appointments Committee.
Mao is expected to be sworn in as the country’s Justice Minister before he can officially begin executing his duties in line with the laws of the land and as assigned by the appointing authority.
But as he moves to take up a cabinet job, Mao is facing pressure from his fellow DP leaders who want him to resign the party’s top leadership position.
It should be remembered that on July 20, Mao and Museveni signed a cooperation agreement to guide DP and NRM in working together. A day later, on July 21, Museveni appointed Mao Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister. (Read Story Here).
In the wake of the cooperation agreement, a section of DP legislators called on Mao to resign for not following the right procedures before committing the party to a partnership with the ruling party.
Speaking at Parliament on July 21, Buikwe South MP Dr Lulume Bayiga expressed disappointmentb that instead of working to remove the Museveni government, Mao has been doing his best to be appointed to cabinet. Lulumu made it clear that while Mao has all the qualifications needed to become a cabinet minister, it would be improper for him to claim that DP is part of the cooperation agreement, and that he should go alone and leave the party to other leaders.
“He thinks that he can eat his cake and have it. It’s not possible to be a Minister in the NRM Government and at the same time remain a DP party President,” said the Buikwe South MP.
The DP MPs have even resolved to stop making monthly contributions to the party. Mityana South MP Richard Lumu swore not to make any contribution until the relevant organs have thrown Mao out.
Bukoto South MP Richard Ssebamala accused Mao of betraying the Democratic Party. Ssebamala added that it was now clear that Mao was a mole as some had all along been suspecting.
Even DP’s legal advisor Luyimbazi Nalukoola has punched holes in the cooperation agreement. Nalukoola announced that the right procedures would be followed in electing another president to replace Mao and those who seem to have joined the NRM.
But now, Mao has sworn not to leave the party’s leadership. Speaking after he was vetted for his ministerial job, Mao insisted that he was still the party president and that would not change even when he officially becomes the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister.
“The Constitution of DP and the cooperation agreement are not mutually exclusive. I signed it as the president of the Democratic Party and I will continue discharging my duties as the president of the Democratic Party,” said Mao.
“I have heard voices calling on me to step aside. I think the reason is not the cooperation agreement: the reason would have been, for instance, if members said ‘you would be too busy; I think that one I would listen to it because it would be reasonable but the venomous outbursts that I heard definitely show that many of our members have not yet internalized the implications of this cooperation agreement. It is important that DP has a leadership which is committed to those issues [in the agreement.”
Meanwhile, Mao’s appointment prompted Museveni to make a few changes in his cabinet in a mini reshuffle. Museveni sent Minister Peter Ogwang to work under his wife First Lady Janet Kataaha Museveni, while Hamson Obua was elevated. (Read Story Here).
The full cooperation agreement between Museveni and Mao is HERE.