Analysis

FLASHBACK: When Chairman Mao said he “can never be bought with money”

Mao’s appointment as Minister in the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) government came exactly a day inking a juicy deal with the president agreeing to work together for a better Uganda.

Democratic Party (DP) Chairman Nobert Mao. PHOTO/FILE

KAMPALA, UGANDA: President Museveni on July 21 appointed Democratic Party (DP) President General, Mr Norbert Mao, as Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister, a move that silenced the opposition party members and sparked public debate on the stance of political parties in Uganda.

Mao’s appointment as a serving minister in the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) government came exactly a day inking a juicy deal with the president agreeing to work together for a better Uganda.

As a leader of Uganda’s oldest political party, Norbert Mao has always been criticized by fellow opposition members for “hobnobbing with the ruling party” although he has often distanced himself from the allegations.

In fact, Mao one time came to publicly declare that the National Unity Platform (NUP) party, headed by former presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine is an ‘NRM Project’ and an agent of the ruling government. These allegations were not independently verified and overtime faded away with no proof.

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And following his Thursday appointment as Minister for Justice, a video first shared by Daily Monitor has resurfaced on social media platforms showing DP President Mr. Norbert Mao expressing how he “can never be bought with money let alone join a government and leave my party behind.”

The comments in the video (below) were made on March 6, 2022, at a DP retreat in Kampala.

Opposition Leaders React

Mao’s appointment as Justice Minister has been labeled by fellow opposition members as a fulfillment of his own predicted “surprise for those wallowing in victimhood.”

Four-time presidential candidate and former FDC president, Dr. Kizza Besigye who for so long questioned Mao’s relationship with Museveni was the first to speak out on the appointment of his fellow opposition mate, saying instead of castigating him for the new role, Ugandans need to only congratulate him.

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“I think that Hon Mao needs to be “ congratulated” for ARRIVING after “a long journey” and for the “unprecedented step” taken- using his own words! Hon Baryomunsi now has good company. The struggle to end Junta (gun) rule continues &will intensify as the arena becomes clearer. 🟥,” Dr. Besigye June 21 wrote on Twitter in reaction to the ministerial appointment.  

“The “cohabiting” has ended, here is the “wedding”,” Opposition National Unity Platform(NUP) spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi tweeted on Wednesday evening after news of Mao signing a pact with President Mr Museveni went viral.

And now speaking on his appointment, Mao tweeted on Thursday afternoon saying “Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah” Psalm 46:1-3.”

Rewind

Mao was early this year reproached on social media after First Son Muhoozi Kainerugaba christened him “the most brilliant opposition leader in Uganda” on February 3, 2022.

An unapologetic Mao reacted: “This tweet has drawn a clear line between those who know and those who understand! I’m glad @mkainerugaba doesn’t suffer from generational myopia.”

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