The cooperation agreement between President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni, the Chairman of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), and Norbert Mao, the President General of the Democratic Party (DP), has dominated headlines this week.
Museveni named Mao his new Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister on July 21, hours after the two parties met at State House Entebbe and signed a cooperation deal. But who exactly brokered the deal?
Details are slowly emerging on who could have been behind the deal that is said to have been woven over the years as part of Museveni protracted plan to deal the country’s opposition a great blow.
It is said that when he announced his new cabinet in June 2021, Museveni deliberately left the Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister job vacant for Mao since talks were still ongoing then, and the DP boss was dragging his feet on working with the General from Rwakitura. Talks would continue between Museveni and Mao, with emissaries that kept updating the two principals.
The key deal brokers, according to reports, were Chief Justice Alfonse Chigamoy Owiny Dollo and Gen Caleb Akandwanaho aka Salim Saleh, President Museveni’s younger brother and the chief coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC).
It is said that, based in Gulu, OWC boss Gen Salim Saleh broached the idea of Mao working with government in several meetings the duo reportedly held in the northern Uganda city. That Gen Saleh would keep updating his elder brother Museveni on the key developments and what Mao’s demands were.
Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo also allegedly convinced Mao to work with Museveni for the good of Uganda. It is also said that the head of the judiciary also played a key advisory role when it came to offering guidance on the contents of the cooperation agreement, and that he was seen as a neutral negotiator by both Museveni and Mao (since he comes from the North and is known to be a friend to the DP boss).
Other people who reportedly played roles in the making of the Museveni-Mao deal were: Secretaries General Gerald Blacks Siranda of the Democratic Party and Richard Todwong of the NRM, DP chairman Mayambala Kiwanuka, as well as Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka.
Available reports indicate that it is these men whose advice and suggestions influenced the cooperation agreement between Mao and Museveni. (Read Full Agreement Norbert Mao and Museveni signed Here).
Meanwhile, the cooperation agreement between Museveni and Mao has caused chaos in DP with party leaders telling Norbert Mao to resign and other purporting to have already fired him. But Norbert Mao has fired back, making it clear that he is not going anywhere. (Read Stories Here and There).