What you need to know:
- Mr Mao also lashed out at a section of NRM members, who claim he has done nothing for the party. He said he has sacrificed a lot, including staking his life for the better of Ugandans such as the negotiations with Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony in Garamba forests.
Democratic Party (DP) president general, Mr Norbert Mao, has said he does not regret accepting a ministerial position to serve in a government he has fiercely criticised over the years.
Mr Mao was last week appointed Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to serve in President Museveni’s government.
Mr Mao pledged to serve all Ugandans, despite criticism from the Opposition, who have called him a traitor.
“This appointment is just the beginning of a new era. If it’s the wind then you are about to experience an earthquake. Uganda is for us all. I have not gone to fight President Museveni in his Cabinet, or oppose him but to work for Ugandans,” he said.
Mr Mao said the Opposition struggling for change should as well negotiate for change since the incumbent is clocking 40 years in leadership.
He likened the current political situation to a relay race. “Here members of a team take turns to complete the race. If someone is to give you a stick, you have to first run with him. In a relay you don’t give a stick to someone who is walking,” he said.
Mr Mao was speaking as a chief guest at the welcoming ceremony for the Western Region DP party president, Hajj Imam Makumbi, who was returning from performing this year’s annual pilgrimage to Mecca, at his home in Masha in Isingiro District at the weekend.
He dismissed claims that he took the decision out of selfishness, adding that many politicians don’t stand out in honesty for the good of Ugandans because they fear backlash.
“If you are a leader, be a leader. I don’t want God to ask me ‘Mao what did you do when Ugandans faced challenges?’ On a slope when the brakes were not working and the country was at the verge of getting finished. I now have what to tell Him,” he said.
Mr Mao said he is offering himself as a bridge to rally a new majority of Ugandans to bring transition in the country without bloodshed.
“There are many people who love Ugandans, in DP, National Unity Platform, Forum for Democratic Change and the NRM and everywhere. Let’s look out for one another and form a new majority, not the majority of historicals who came from the bush,” he said.
He added: “A bridge is a small part of the road but without it, you cannot cross over. Uganda has become modern but what Ugandans now need is transfer of power without bloodshed which I have offered to champion in my new agenda.”
Mr Mao also lashed out at a section of NRM members, who claim he has done nothing for the party. He said he has sacrificed a lot, including staking his life for the better of Ugandans such as the negotiations with Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony in Garamba forests.
“I thank the NRM party for having agreed and accommodated our views in working towards a better Uganda. We had sold our views and attempted to work and cooperate with other parties but any attempts we would make instead, they wanted to swallow and capture and become submissive without considering our ideas and views for the good of Ugandans,” he said.
Other DP members say
Hajj Makumbi, who received the news of Mr Mao’s decision while travelling back to Uganda from Mecca, said he remains committed to the service of the DP party and his president.
“I returned from Mecca and found that you have landed into things, I am yet to hear from you. I don’t know whether I will serve you from the verandah but I remain committed to serve you as my party president and the DP,” he said.
The first deputy Mufti of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council, Sheikh Abdallah Semambo, applauded Mr Mao for being accommodative.
“Your coming here to celebrate this historic journey with our brother but also the support you have given to the Muslim community is honourable enough for the love you have for Ugandans without discrimination. We pray that Allah gives you wisdom to remain humble and committed to serve his people,” he said.