Uganda: Analysis – Mao Joins Long List of Museveni’s Critics Who Have Kissed His Feet

On March 6 while addressing party delegates in Masaka, Norbert Mao the DP presidential general said he would “never join” Museveni’s government” according to a clip circulating on various social media platforms.

Years earlier in 2015 after revelations that former Vice President Prof Gilbert Bukenya had made a U-turn and agreed to work with Museveni, Mao said Bukenya was not a “mahogany” but a hollow tree that could easily be swayed by a small gush of wind.

Now, it is his turn to do the political dance!

Mao, as you might have read, is the new minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, a position that has been vacant since President Museveni formed cabinet in 2021.

The appointment came a day after he signed a cooperation deal with Museveni, the revelation of which triggered various reactions on social media platforms.

Yet Mao is neither the first nor is he likely to be the last of Museveni’s critics to later embrace him.

Museveni has over the years turned some of his avid critics into his praise singers.

DP’s Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere was critical of Museveni’s move to go to the bush after the 1980 elections but even the veteran politician was charmed by Museveni after the war to work with him.

Ssemogerere joined the so called broad based government with a cohort of DP officials that included Evaristo Nyanzi, Robert Kitariko and Dr Andrew Lutakome Kayiira.

In 1996 Ssemogerere broke ties with Museveni and contested against him.

Not only did Ssemogerere lose the election to Museveni, the president also lured DP’s secretary general, Maria Mutagamba, to his fold. Mutagamba joined compatriot, Dr Kisamba Mugerwa, who had joined Museveni’s government earlier.

In the later years, Museveni has fished UPC’s Aggrey Awori, FDC’s Betty Kamya, Joyce Ssebugwawo, Beatrice Anywar, Alex Onzima, Phoebe Otaala and Maj Rubaramira Ruranga, to his side.

From DP, Museveni has lured Muhammad Kezaala, Florence Nakiwala Nakiyingi and Sarah Kanyike to his side.

Museveni is also currently working closely with the UPC faction allied to Jimmy Akena.

Therefore while Mao’s slow but steady walk into the arms of Museveni has taken some by surprise, the president has always been a determined hunter of the opposition.

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