Mao denies being Museveni’s agent

COLLEAGUES? Mr Mao (L) says meeting President Museveni at functions like this in Gulu recently, does not mean he now advances the latter’s interests.


Democratic Party president general Norbert Mao yesterday denied claims that he is on a mission to weaken the Opposition’s hand ahead of next year’s general election.
Speaking in Mbarara as public verbal exchanges sniping between the opposition’s umbrella Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC), and DP seemed to escalate, Mr Mao said he is not a mole of the ruling party. “We want our position to be understood. They are saying Mao and DP are working for Museveni. Can Dr Besigye lecture me on how to fight Museveni? By the time I was fighting Museveni where was Dr Besigye? They were in that eating house when I opposed Museveni,” said Mr Mao.

Mr Mao’s reference to talk that he may be a government plant, comes days after the IPC expressed irritation at DP’s refusal to join a single front against President Museveni’s bid for a fourth elective term in office. The DP, meeting in Bwebajja, Wakiso last week, turned down a proposal to front a single opposition presidential candidate, but said it could cooperate with the IPC at parliamentary and local council levels. The IPC is composed of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), the Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), the Justice Forum (JEEMA) and the Conservative Party (CP).

In Mbarara yesterday, Mr Mao said the IPC “is a ship for Forum for Democratic Change. It has no guiding policies and Museveni could easily win it.” “This debate of IPC is of interest to us only if there are new suggestions … I believe the IPC formula is effectively designed for Dr Besigye, Lukyamuzi, [and] Mayanja. I don’t think they are serious,” Mr Mao said while noting that “the thing is already fixed”.

Dr Kizza Besigye heads the FDC, while Mr Ken Lukyamuzi and Mr Kibirige Mayanja lead the CP and JEEMA respectively.
Mr Mao also took exception at comments attributed to some FDC leaders in the wake of DP’s snub of the opposition coalition. “Musumba said let them (DP) go to hell …Wafula said we wanted DP for only Buganda. It’s bad politics. It’s bad manners; how can we really form a government with such people? I think that level of arrogance Mao can’t accept it.” He added, “I want Museveni to wake up with five headaches instead of one, each attacking from a different area, if you have one he will defeat you automatically.”

Mr Mao, however, said the offer to field joint candidates for the parliamentary and local council elections still stands.
He added that he could also back an opposition candidate should the election go into a re-run. A few weeks ago Mr Mao caused debate when he lavished praise on President Museveni in Gulu and when he recently when he said the FDC was yet to get past the “military mentality” after the latter fronted two former soldiers for its flag bearer race.
Reacting to Mr Mao’s latest comments, FDC spokesperson Wafula Oguttu said, “If Mr Mao thinks that his organisation is good, why is his party ever losing members to other parties and does not get new ones?”

IPC spokesperson Ibrahim Ssemujju accused the Democratic Party of underhand tactics. “DP must be honest. The issue of consultation was an excuse to buy time and they can no longer buy that time because the election of the IPC flag bearer is around the corner,” Mr Ssemujju said. “As IPC, we didn’t want to scatter our efforts in looking for votes. But if they have decided to go to the poll as an individual, we have no option.”

On Monday, Mr Otunnu said DP’s go-it-alone decision was unfortunate. “We appreciate the contribution that DP has contributed to this country especially in promoting democracy and I therefore think that IPC still needs DP and DP as well needs the IPC.”

Mr Ofwono Opondo, the NRM deputy spokesperson, told Daily Monitor yesterday that the “IPC was a forced marriage with the intention of getting money from donors and not winning the election.” The NRM also argues that it has defeated previous opposition coalitions and is not scared of a new one ahead of 2011.