Acholi celebrates as Mao moves justice flag to NRM

DP Party President General Norbert Mao carried shoulder-high during a procession in Gulu City in 2016. PHOTO / FILE

What you need to know:

  • After signing a cooperation agreement with the DP steward  on Wednesday, President Museveni appointed Mao to the Cabinet.
  • Mr Mao, who is the leader of Uganda’s oldest political party since 2010, has previously been criticised by the Opposition elements for “hobnobbing with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.”

Leaders across Acholi Sub-region have welcomed the appointment of Democratic Party president general Norbert Mao as the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

After signing a cooperation agreement with the DP steward  on Wednesday, President Museveni appointed Mao to the Cabinet.
Mr Mao, who is the leader of Uganda’s oldest political party since 2010, has previously been criticised by the Opposition elements for “hobnobbing with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.”

When the Monitor contacted the Kitgum Diocese Bishop Wilson Kitara to seek his comment on the development, he described it as good news, but declined to discuss further into it.
“But that (appointment) is good news. I have not got much information yet, let me first research it and read it before I can talk in detail,” Bishop Kitara said.

Mr Michael Lakony, the Amuru chairperson, said Mao’s appointment is a personal decision.

“He had already made up his mind and I think we just need to support him. His move is neither strange nor new,” he said.
Although he described the appointment to be a confirmation of one of the past statements by President Museveni that by 2021, there would be no Opposition in Uganda, Mr Lakony said the appointment was overdue.

“The appointment of Mr Mao and himself entering a deal with the NRM government is a delayed process because someone already knew they were jogging for something bigger.”

Mr Ambrose Olaa, the Acholi Chiefdom premier, said the appointment was a real deal for Mr Mao since he is a national leader who has been fighting to help the government pursue a national interest.

“I don’t think if he remained at DP he would achieve much, let’s focus on the big Uganda, but not the small squabbles arising out of the appointment. Political interests can be brought together to achieve something great for the people of Uganda,” Mr Olaa said.

“Mr Mao has been a national leader not for DP or Acholi alone, his move is not new, and in many countries, there are coalitions,” Mr Olaa added.

But the Kilak South MP Gilbert Olanya’s view is different, he says Mr Mao’s agreement with the State is a disappointment to his DP party and the Acholi people.

“When making such a decision, you consult party members and you go while representing the party and their position. What Mr Mao did is quite a disappointment to the DP and the Acholi. Right now, the National Executive Committee members of DP are claiming that Mr Mao did not consult them,” he added.

“The best he could have done was to work with the NRM as an individual,” Mr Olanya added.

Mr Agustine Ojara, a resident of Koro-abili Village, Koro Sub-county, Omoro District, said: “Mao only accepted to serve in the government. The most important thing is service delivery, not the colour of one’s shirt.”

Mr Christopher Opiyo Ateker, the Gulu chairman, said the appointment is huge relief to the people of Acholi. He is optimistic the war debt claims will be settled. “The Acholi people have been crying for cattle compensation and he came at the right time,” Mr Opiyo said.

Mao memorable quotes

1. “I wish the lord mayor good luck. It is a great day when someone who has been cohabiting finally gets married. Today is the graduation day for Lukwago. After all those who are cohabiting, do the same things that married people do they have children.”  When Lukwago crossed from DP to FDC

2.“President Museveni and his henchmen and tribesmen belongs to the first Uganda. I belong in the second poverty and disease infested Uganda. So ask yourselves, the following questions; where do I belong? Are we created by the same God? Do we breathe the same air? Is Uganda a monarchy or republic?  Why does he have to treat us this way? Anyway, only the Good Lord knows our fate For God and My Country”

3. “Many people who claim to be prominent members of the yellow bus are not benefiting as they expected. The bus driver is enjoying a lot of goodies with those sitting in front yet the behind passengers are just suffering with the smells and they are thinking that the goodies may reach them, but they are waiting in vain  due to the greediness of the bus driver and his comrades infront. This is a matter of fact. Many people joined the NRM with the interest of getting something but to their dismay, they are losing the greatest thing in life which is time. Today, most of the party members are just staying for the little money being given but in the real sense, their instinct is against the party so NRM is soon facing its doom.”

4. “It is hard to live in Uganda these days due to increase in prices of edible commodities, more so sugar which is also made in Uganda. It is a pity for the citizens because the hands of the citizens are tied indirectly through levying high taxes. Above all, unemployment which is the primary cause of poverty in the various parts of the country. Lastly, people work hard and get some capital to start a small business and it collapses due to high taxes. Time has come that we have to say no to this regime that cannot fix all these problems. Lets not leave work only in the hands of civil society and human rights activists, lets also join the struggle, our future is in our hands.’’

 5. “I want to assure you that I know what I am doing and I will never be bought with money. You should be assured of it and I can never join a government and leave my party behind, that one is my assurance to you.”

 6. “Decide where you fall, one leg is here, another leg is there, you move atoti this way atoti that way.”

 7. “Many times, I hear the NRM saying Opposition has no ideas, I have never heard such nonsense. DP is the party which tackles NRM at the level of ideas because NRM loves those who tackle them at the level of komanyoko.”

8. “We are seeing the emergence of Suubi Part II, those two groups cannot co-exists unfortunately. It is either going to be one way or the other. We are all striving to grow to fit the size of DP. The other group is very small so they want to reduce the party to their size, so you must make a choice between using the institution to serve the interests of your constituents or being a comedian. The kind of Dhikuula we are going to move around Buganda and telling these people who vote these guys that these are conmen and con-women who have no agenda to serve you. Their agenda is to serve themselves, we are going to unmask them.” 

 9. “During the swearing-in of our leaders, we swear with the Holy Bible in our hand saying, “I  swear to to do my duties in respect to the Constitution of Uganda so help me God” Unlike during the Holy Matrimony where we swear as “We shall live together until death separates us,” In Uganda, the irony is that our President is following as chastity vow as if he is married to the office of the Presidency that is why he is struggling tirelessly to scrub off the Age Limit of which our MPs should not accept. This is a betrayal to both God (Bible) and the Citizens (Constitution). I always bring up this issue which contradicts his expectations and shakes his office. That is why he calls me an enemy of peace. If he loves peace really, why can’t he leave his office in peace? I stand for truth and justice.’’

10. “They call it the constitutional amendment. Is the Presidential Age Limit worthy to be a Bill to be tabled before the Parliament of Uganda? I do not know what is wrong with some people like the Minister of Justice and his president. I am fully aware that President Museveni will rule Uganda until 2021 and if justice is to prevail, then he will not go beyond that. The Members of the Constituent Assembly sat together 22 years ago and came out with a clear Constitution setting the Age Limit for the office of the President at 75 years. I personally will not allow someone to lead me over that age I stand for truth and justice.”