Uganda: Exclusive – How the Museveni-Mao Deal Was Hatched

Part of the delays, was because Museveni was reluctant on appointing Nobert Mao because his plan was to see Mao help him manage the opposition.

Democratic Party president Norbert Mao yesterday inked a deal with ruling the National Resistance Movement party (NRM) national chairman President Yoweri Museveni to work together.

The meeting was also attended by the Secretary Generals of the two political parties, Richard Todwong for NRM and Gerald Siranda for DP and lawyers for both parties.

In a shocking appointment, a day after this deal was inked, Nobert Mao was appointed minister of justice and constitutional affairs. This appointment has caused quite a buzz in the public.

But how did we get here?

Negotiations between Museveni and Mao have been going on since 2021, shortly after elections.

Sources close to Mao, have revealed that the negotiations included Mao himself, President Yoweri Museveni, his younger brother (rtd) Gen.Salim Saleh and Museveni’s son Lt.Gen.Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

On the 3rd of February 2022 Gen Muhoozi tweeted using his official Twitter account praising Mao. ‘My big brother @norbertmao is the most brilliant opposition leader in Uganda today. He has Presidential skills.’ Muhoozi tweeted.

Nobert Mao has been seen on several occasions in Gulu at Gen. Salim Saleh’s residence. The first time he went to have talks with Saleh was in 2021, before the Covid-19 lockdown was lifted.

Demands

According to sources close to Mao, these negotiations have taken a whole year because of Museveni’s personal demands. The President through his younger brother Saleh, asked Mao to join his government but as an individual. Mao, however insisted he wanted to come with the whole party, DP.

When appointing the new cabinet after swearing in, President Museveni did not appoint anyone in the post of Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs pending Mao’s decision to join government.

After consultations, while in Gulu, Mao told Saleh that for him to join government and work with Museveni, it would look like he had defected from DP and joined NRM.

Mao further added that his decision on joining Museveni’s government would be dependent on him being in a position to be able to change the things he has always lamented about; including a creation of a presidential transition plan.

No wonder the MoU signed between DP and NRM, one of the key elements in there is that Mao, as justice and constitutional affairs minister would lead the National Dialogue whose main objectives is to create a Presidential transition plan.

In one of the twitter spaces he spoke at yesterday, Mao said that DP will work with NRM to create a Uganda post Museveni.

Part of the delays, was because Museveni was reluctant on appointing Nobert Mao because his plan was to see Mao help him manage the opposition.

One of the poltical analysts who referred anonymity, said ‘If it was not for Mao, Bobi wine would have taken over DP, and thereby gotten its historic legacy and structures across the country to be a much more potent force.’

What does the future hold?

In the MoU, it is clear that Nobert Mao will be appointed Justice and constitutional affairs minister. Another DP member nominated by DP would be appointed junior minister and the party also has to ‘nominate 4 other members to be appointed in different government departments, statutory bodies and government agencies,’ part of the MoU reads.

Question is who will DP/Mao nominate?

In a twitter space on Wednesday evening, Mao said that he’s glad DP top leadership were in the know and they didn’t leak anything. ‘It’s only NRM that leaks things,’ Mao added.

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