Tayebwa urges Mao to keep his word in the DP-NRM pact

Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa (L) flanked by Justice Minister who is also the President General of Democratic Party (DP) Mr Nobert Mao at the latter's homecoming fete in Gulu City on July 22, 2023 (Photo/Courtesy)

GULU, UGANDA: The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon Thomas Tayebwa has asked the Democratic Party President General Mr Nobert Mao to follow his words as stipulated in the DP-NRM Corporation agreement.

Mr Tayebwa made the remarks at the mega Mao’s Homecoming and Thanksgiving ceremony dubbed ‘It’s Time’ or ‘Kare Oromo’ that took place on Saturday, July 22, at Kaunda Ground in Gulu City. Tayebwa had represented the Speaker of Parliament Rt Hon Anita Annet Among at the function.

“The little time I worked very closely with President Museveni, is the man who keeps his words, you better also keep your words because I know you keep your words and this partnership will be supported by all of us,” The Deputy Speaker reminded Mao.

Tayebwa described Mao as a visionary leader of a group that believes in a united Uganda and that the function portrays a good gesture to many Uganda who have so far cast doubt on whether Ugandans can still be reunited.

“I used this occasion to call upon all Ugandans to work together in unity in order to foster the development of our country.”

From L to R: Gen Salim Saleh, Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa and Justice Minister / DP President Nobert Mao (Photo/Courtesy)

Msgr Mathew Odong the Vicar General of Gulu Archdiocese who led the homily asked the crowd who came from across Uganda to take Mao’s event as the beginning of unity.

He said “We cannot keep fighting one another; let’s use today as the beginning of a new day in our lives. We should embrace Mato Oput as we welcome our son, Norbert Mao,” Msgr Odong said.
Mato Oput is one of the traditional mechanisms for forgiveness and reconciliation among the Acholi. 

In his speech, Mr Nobert Mao vowed to work with the NRM government no matter what people will continue to say. “ To NRM, let’s work together. To the DP, we have principles, but we entered into the agreement as a party. People will talk but I don’t care” he promised, describing people who mock his move to NRM as a grasshopper that brags about kicking an elephant.

Justice Minister Nobert Mao leads the cake sharing ceremony on Saturday, July 22, 2023 in Gulu

According to Mr Mao, upon re-evaluating himself and the time he spent in opposing the NRM regime, he has realised the benefit and disadvantages and concluded that Uganda needs a new beginning and a unifier where his contribution can be realised.

“I think I have something useful to contribute. If others cannot see, at least President Museveni appreciates it. and I think he has enough intelligence and knowledge to decide that Nobert Mao can make a contribution,” he asserted.

The Chairperson of the Acholi Parliamentary Group Hon Anthony Akol (Kilak North) reminded Mr Mao that much as he has entered into the NRM government, he should not bury his head from listening to the cry of Acholi.

Mr Akol said the poverty Acholi is worrying and is making other Ugandans who have money to come and exploit their resources such as land and environment with impunity and these are areas that need great work.

Among other issues he pointed out was the cattle compensation for the people of Acholi that has been dragging on for a long period and has now turned into a matter of politics.

Minister Nobert Mao (centre) joined by other dignitaries from both the NRM and DP parties to cut the cake on Saturday, July 22, 2023

Mr Mao noted that his move is strategically calculated based on the direction Uganda is going as of now and promised to fight any course on the side of Uganda.

“I know where Uganda is going. Because I know and I understand, I want to promise that I will serve the government faithfully as the minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs,” he vowed.

Some of the good ideas Mao pointed to the crowd that he planned to put forward and agree on with the government include; building a constitution, national dialogue, and reconciling Ugandans in order to build the nation collectively.

Mao said his being absent from his people in Gulu where his story started but, he is ready and backed home to serve his people. Mao noted that he shall be doing a national tour to mobilise and rally Uganda for unity.

Minister Nobert Mao (in centre black suit) and other dignitaries who attended his Homecoming Ceremony on Saturday, July 22, in Gulu – Northern Uganda

President Museveni’s younger brother Gen Caleb Akandanwaho alias Salim Saleh said Mao’s coming to partner with NRM is a good gesture to serve Uganda. He added that NRM’s fall out with DP very many years ago marked the beginning of political instability that has lasted up to date, something that has made the political space of Uganda worrying.

“It is not about politics, it’s the realignment of energies towards a common goal because we (Ugandans) have passed so many processes and policies which really require this moment should be used for harmonization, so I request that you carry on the word of harmony and harmonization to wherever you will go,” he said.

The National Vice Chairman NRM Party, Al Hajji Moses Kigongo who represented President Museveni delivered his message to Nobert Mao. In the message, Mr Museveni said that Ugandans should discourage sectarian politics. According to Museveni sectarianism is the reason that has made Northern Uganda suffer for about 60 years.

Some of the guests at the event dance to the fest on Saturday

The Saturday homecoming event was organised for the DP President to give back appreciation to the Acholi people for the appointment into the top government office of the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

Among the dignitaries who attended included, Minister of Health Ruth Jane Aceng, Hillary Onek, Minister for Disaster and Preparedness, and very many members of parliament.

Others included the DP Vice President Mukasa Mbidde, DP Secretary General, Gerald Siranda.

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