On the afternoon of July 21, 2022, I got a rare international phone call from Deutche Welle (The Voice of Germany/Sauti Ya Ujerumani) Swahili Service for an interview regarding the rare cooperation agreement that was signed between DP’s President General – Norbert Mao and General Yoweri Museveni. In his (Mao’s) speech after the agreement at the State House, his particular phrase aroused my attention. He said that he is coming in to contribute towards the transition without bloodshed, which I profoundly advise that it is populist attitude and a pretty idle fret since he cannot have the capacity, because he should have done this during the Lord’s Resistance Army bloody war in his Acholi sub region in the late 80s and 90s.
I knew Chairman Mao as one of Uganda’s legal high flyers while at Radio One’s Ekimeeza, at Club Obliggato, Old Port Bell road, Kampala in the early 2000s with the then Uganda other Greats namely: David Pulkol, Ekullo Epak, Ben Wacha, Prof. Latigo, Reagan Okumu, Richard Todwong, Betty Kamya Turomwe, Monica Amoding and others. Mao used to refer to himself as a hard-nosed negotiator. I was therefore not surprised by the mixed reactions to his appointment from the opposition to the Cabinet of Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on Friday, July 22, 2022.
What can only be surprising to me is that the same DP President General, Mao when Museveni appointed some DP members to his Cabinet in 2016, Mao said “as the Igbo (a tribe in Nigeria) say no one gets a mouthful of food by picking between another person’s teeth”. His Vice President General, Mr. Mukasa Mbidde commended Museveni for appointing the opposition into his cabinet, but he sought that there should have been a prior dialogue between Museveni and the opposition leaders before “Cherry-picking” candidates.
I then concluded that politics surely reduces the minds of brilliant men to mediocrity and corrupts the integrity of upright men and women. I didn’t agree with these arguments because residential appointments (selections) are always shrouded in confidentiality, so having a dialogue as suggested by Mbidde then was out of the question.
I have been appalled by the negative reactions towards Mr. Mao’s appointment because I believe General Yoweri Museveni is again trying to embrace political harmony in his government especially after the demise of Late Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah, who was a unifier in Northern Uganda more particularly in the Acholi region. The appointing authority is attempting as much as possible to coalesce the support base from diminishing after the gap left by the Late Speaker. For me, given the president’s history with the opposition especially in the recent elections that indicated that the former won elections narrowly because of the newfound love with Acholi people and wants to continue balancing the equation after Buganda and Busoga reneged on his support in the 2021 elections. In spite of all the negativity, there has also been some positive feedback.
The president attempted or demonstrated the same spirit after the 2016 elections by bringing the then Uganda Federal Alliance’s (UFA) Betty Kamya who was appointed Minister for Kampala Capital City Authority, who excitedly commended that she was happy about being the opportunity to serve Uganda and help in the development of Kampala on top of Jimmy Akena’s spouse Betty Amongi who was then appointed as Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, then DP’s Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi as State Minister for Youths. This was seen as a step towards political amalgamation as they like chairman Mao all unfortunately promised to contribute towards the fast development of the country of Uganda but left without doing much.
I conclude that politics surely reduces the minds of brilliant men to mediocrity and corrupts the integrity of upright men and women.
NABENDEH WAMOTO S.P. (0776-658433/0752-658433)