Democratic Party (DP) President General Norbert Mao, who also doubles as the Ugandan Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, might soon be accused of flip-flopping and of ‘speaking in tongues’ on issues related to his cooperation agreement with ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) Chairman and the country’s President Gen Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni.
Although Norbert Mao had been touting his cooperation agreement with the president as some sort of ‘game changer’ on the issue of Uganda’s journey to her first peaceful political transition, Gen Museveni, the man who has ruled Uganda for nearly four decades, recently told all and sundry that he had not discussed the issue of a ‘peaceful political handover’ with Norbert Mao, suggesting that the DP boss’ words could have been his idea and approach to the issue.
Norbert Mao has now been struggling to explain to Ugandans how Museveni would not know about an issue he claims to have discussed with him. In July 2022, Mao of the Democratic Party signed a cooperation agreement with Museveni of the NRM. The deal would see Mao appointed Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, a position that had been largely vacant for a year since Museveni released his FULL CABINET LIST for the 2021-2026 term of office. Museveni would assign Public Service Minister Wilson Muruli Mukasa duties of this Ministry in acting capacity until Mao accepted the position following protracted negotiations that were said to have dragged for years.
A few months later, Norbert Mao’s DP reaped more fruits from the cooperation agreement with Museveni after a number of Members of Parliament (MPs) from the 78-year-old president’s ruling NRM voted the Democratic Party Secretary General Gerald Siranda Blacks among the nine MPs representing the country in the regional Parliament, the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala).
On Thursday night’s NBS Frontline show hosted by Charles Mwanguhya Mpagi, Norbert Mao’s cooperation agreement with Museveni was one of the main issues of discussion. Mao defended himself, saying the deal was not informed by selfishness on his part, making it clear that it was for the good of the country. “Everybody has selfish interests, but the question is whether you put them first. My self-interests are at the far bottom,” said the former Gulu LCV Chairman.
He challenged those blasting him for his cooperation agreement with Museveni to propose a better idea that would not destroy Uganda, a country that has been independent for 60 years, or shut up. “Those who are criticizing what we have attempted to do and what we are pushing, bring a brighter idea. A bad idea can only be pushed away by a better idea. There are those who think that the transition should exclude President Museveni. In other words, all efforts should be put into removing Museveni at all costs, even if Uganda is destroyed in the process,” Mao further said during the show.
He went on to brag about his provocation skills which have fanned the debate on his deal with the president as well as on the important matter of a peaceful political transition. Mao further told Ugandans opposed to his deal that he would do whatever he feels he is able to do to make his contribution, reminding them that he was a bold man who once travelled to meet the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel leader Joseph Kony for talks with government. He also accused his critics of bias, suggesting that they were not offering any constructive criticism.
“You see, it’s a symptom of a society that is now reactive rather than proactive. I am glad that God has equipped me with provocativeness. Me, I was willing to take a bus to meet Kony. The people making noise about this agreement on social media have never supported it from the start. They were just looking for one excuse to magnify their prejudice and inbuilt bias,” the ‘Oracle of Gulu’ submitted.
Gen Museveni recently shocked Ugandans when he trashed Norbert Mao’s ‘peaceful power handover’ talks. Mao, purporting to be the ‘midwife’ of Uganda’s political transition had even revealed the year Museveni would peacefully hand over power. (See Details Here and There).
After days of denial, Mao has now admitted that indeed he and Museveni have not yet held talks about the issue of a political transition and how it should look like, but was quick to add that the cooperation agreement between him and the president talks about the transition from Museveni to a new Uganda.
“President Museveni said we didn’t discuss transition, and he is right. The transition is in the 11-page document,” said the DP boss-turned-Museveni Minister. “The agreement wasn’t only about the transition. We are unfortunate as a country that we lack serious analysts, and we only have bloggers and deejays pretending to be analysts.”
He also reiterated his earlier position that he trusts Museveni, but added that he did not care much what happens to him since the country whose future he was seeking to secure was bigger than him and Museveni. “Those of you who are talking, I trust President Museveni will honour this agreement. I want to tell Uganda that I don’t mind what happens to me as Norbert Mao. Uganda will stay long beyond the signatories of this agreement you are talking about. The question is, what are you doing?”
The issue of when Museveni could peacefully leave power is slowly beginning to get clearer, especially with some groups in the NRM endorsing the president for a possible and likely 2026 presidential election run. But the endorsements Museveni is getting spell tears and disappointment for Museveni’s 48-year-old son Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba who might have to wait a little longer before he can be allowed to compete to succeed his father. (Read Story Here).