President Yoweri Museveni has said that the Memorandum of Understanding that the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) signed with the Democratic Party (DP) in July did not include any agreement on political transition.
Days after the announcement of the deal, Mao was appointed Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
“A year ago I was offered a position in the government but I took time off to consult,” Nobert Mao said while appearing on the NBS TV political talk show Frontline the day he was appointed Minister.
On several occasions, Mao has stated that the agreement between DP and NRM is about commitment to a peaceful transition, constitutional reforms, and national dialogue.
However, in the interview aired by Kenya’s KTN TV on Monday, Museveni said that nothing like transition was discussed between himself and Minister Nobert Mao.
“We discussed broadening unity. Mao had been in the opposition, and his area (Northern Uganda) was associated with the government we kicked out. Because we had overthrown their government, they became hostile. However, gradually we have managed to engage them politically,” Museveni said before stating that if Mao is talking about transition, “that’s his own approach.”
Ugandans are questioning whether Museveni told the truth to Mao when he signed the agreement in light of his recent comments.
John Baptist Nambeshe, the Chief Opposition Whip in the 11th Parliament also MP for Manjiya County (Bududa district) on the NUP party ticket said,
“Comrade Norbert Mao, you either duped DP members or you were duped by Mr Museveni that you would play a key role in Uganda’s transitional politics, yet the greedy and power-hungry man with a hat wanted to paint a picture of how his party is inclusive and can compromise the Opposition.”
Former presidential candidate, Mugisha Muntu said that it is impossible to build a democracy without democrats.
“If you don’t know Gen. Museveni quite well, he can easily take you down the garden path, but let’s wait and see how this situation unfolds,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mao insists that transition is at the top of their agenda.
“Transition is now out there on the national agenda. “Never will the pullers-down be able to cope with the builders-up.”
Political transitions can be initiated either from within by incumbents or by outside groups. The meanings vary. DP’s goal of a “peaceful presidential transition” is in black and white in the Cooperation Agreement. What is left is to mutually discuss its modalities in detail,” he said.