The Norbert Mao – M7 deal . A threat to National Unity Platform and a litmus test of the opposition in Uganda

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What is still fresh and sounding is the working instrument signed between National Resistance Movement Organisation’s Chairman Mr. M7 and Democratic Party’s Chairman Nobert Mao.

Signing instruments in politics (leadership) is not new in East Africa – the Devonshire Declaration ( Devonshire White paper,) written in 1923 by the colonial secretary Victor Cavendish, (the 9th Duke of Devonshire,) regarding the status of settlers and natives in the Kenya Colony, and East Africa more broadly.


Just yesterday, in Kenya, the supreme court still injunctioned a working instrument between Pres. Uhuru Kenyatta and the present day Azimio La Umoja leade flag bearer, Raila Odinga – the controversial Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) or call it the “Hand shake.” It was signed by the two, to spell and steer what were seen as salient aspects that would lay a new page in Kenya’s political future.

In the case is the present document the real picture is not the mere act of signing. But the bigger picture is painted by the signing.
The big picture rests in auditing a few issues that if addressed comprehensively, then a clearcut standpoint shall be made on the Nobert Mao M7 marriage and its effect to the political future.

Among the issues to audit is, what is the reality of our opposition?
For many years, a number of people are waning away from the conviction, that we ably have what one may call an opposition.


It be noted that, until 1996, Uganda’s political front line was represented by the old timers, including, the 1960 Milton Obote, founded Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) and the 1954 Ben Kiwanuka center right founded party, Democratic Party (DP) and the Movement system. Its key to observe and note, by 2000, Uganda was run under the movement system. Political parties were not operational practically.

On June 29, 2000. A referendum was held in which voters were asked “Which political system do you wish to adopt, Movement or Multiparty?” The result was 90.7% in support of the non-partisan Movement system with a voter turnout of 51.1%
Later in 2005, another referendum was held. This time, multiparty politics was approved by over 90% of voters.

A single-party system is a kind most preferred by Mr. Museveni, as opposed to a multi-party system.
This, therefore formulates the bedrock of the present day politics post 2005 elections, with respect to political parties (opposition) “buy-offs.“

In terms of dos and don’ts, visibly the opposition in Uganda is media created one would argue. The working of parties is a game of numbers. The numerical weight defines the formulation, strength, and impact of a party.


Today, the National unity platform holds the biggest number of opposition legislators in the 11th parliament. Hence, holding the office of the leader of the opposition. A seat previously held by FDC in the 9 and 10th parliaments.

Did Mao collapse DP or DP was dead on road before Mao’s tenure?

The democratic party has gone through a political tempest since the 60s. It’s a fact, that DP has been a fishing ground for NRM /NRA. My former primary school neighbor, Dr. Paul Kawanga Semwogerere, was M7’s internal affairs minister in the 1986-1996 M7 cabinet. The list is endless regarding who from DP has joined hands working with NRM. The action of Nobert Mao is therefore not new.

Who is responsible for the “Maomatics “ in DP?

I opine on this question, that the present day crossovers from DP to NUP, failed to weed out the Nobert Mao and Maomatics in DP. Running away from a problem, is not a solution to a problem. Today, many former DP members aver that what they smelt as true, Mao being in bed with the present regime, has come to light of day.

I met one of the fire brands in opposition last year and asked her if you have all run away from DP leaving DP to Mao how will she then rescue DP? All people who had to resolve the DP question ran away and failed to uproot Mao. Was Mao bigger than DP?

I will not delve much into FDC. The writing is on the wall, for the Najanankumbi blues. From their bedroom, was whisked the present speaker and deputy speaker. This summarises what a crunching the opposition is going through by NRM.

I want to conclude with one observation. What befalls NUP after Mao’s move?
It may illustrate no relationship today. However, let it be recalled that key figures in NUP and the speedy crop up of NUP was the political spine of remnants of DP after the Nobert Mao “destruction” of the Grand old party, DP.
By 2026, a seeming feel of nostalgia shall have built up to the DP block, to get back home.
This shall leave NUP a raprured party too, technically watch the space.

Denis Nyombi

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