March 2012
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Day March 5, 2012

DP to have a Delegates Conference Soon & I’m not a Museveni ‘mole’- Mao

Norbert Mao is the current DP president General

Dear friends,

I wish to state that the National Executive Committee of the DP has announced plans to hold a National Delegates Conference. We are raising funds to implement that decision and all posts (including the party Presidency) will be open to whoever aspires to those positions.

I have never had the opportunity to attend Muchaka Muchaka. But I reserve my comments on military training and indoctrination by the state for another occasion. The truth is that in my capacity as Gulu District Chairman, I went to deliver a lecture during the pass out ceremony of teachers that had undergone Muchaka Mchaka at NTC Unyama. I wore plain military uniform for the occasion. Did I honour the uniform or did it dishonour me? You judge and I will defend to the death your free viewpoint.
Concerning overtures by NRM I can say that Museveni has never missed an opportunity to say even in public occasions that I should join him. I have made it unequivocally clear that I am not interested in being part of his government for the simple reason that given some key differences I will be nothing but a sorry cog in the wheel of oppression. Museveni believes that everyone has a price. I hope my track record shows that I can resist the allures of Museveni and evade his snares. So I reject any malicious insinuation that I have been in any discussion with Museveni about crossing. How can I hold discussions when I am not interested? If there were any such discussion I would have no problem sharing details and owning up. That is who I am.

In 1995 when I showed up (age 28) to challenge Betty Bigombe for the Gulu Municipality parliamentary seat she sent a delegation to offer me a scholarship in Oxford. I was flattered but I told them that if indeed I was so deserving then one day I would certainly end up in a world class university. As the years went on I ended up at Yale! I also landed an invite by the Master of Christ Church College Oxford, to dine at the High Table where John Locke dined.

I know that in Uganda many politicians have cashed their chips but as for me I am playing for the jack pot. So please do not count me among those cheap sell-outs.

People should know that the late Mayombo who I defeated for the Makerere Students Guild presidency became CMI chief. He was my classmate in law school and at postgraduate law school and also my colleague in parliament. Why did he never broach the subject of crossing to NRM? I guess he knew my mettle.
The late Walter Ochora was my political opponent not my enemy. I defeated him for Gulu District Chair in 2006. As matters turned out he was appointed RDC. People thought he would mess me up ala Jennifer Musisi but I sat down with him and found common ground in the search for peace through dialogue and to work for the return of displaced people. Note that in a Council of 31 we were only 2 DPs. I have attempted to share with the Kampala Lord Mayor some of the good practices that helped me achieve results for the people under difficult circumstances. There is no leadership position which is a rehearsal. One has to bring about results in whatever position they are in. Sometimes one has to work in the rain, sail against the tide and fly against the wind.

We are conducting ourselves in this DP dispute in accordance with the law. We maintain that the problem is primarily political. It is unfair to accuse us of having resolved to act with impunity regardless of the party constitution and the law.

If some people simply do not like me personally then I am sorry there is little I can do save to conduct myself in such a manner that third parties may conclude that their negative attitude towards me is without foundation. But if they simply disagree with me and seek to expose falsehood and deceit in my conduct of DP affairs then I call for a healthy debate. I am willing to concede and make amends where they raise persuasive arguments.

I have been the subject of sustained smear campaigns on this UAH forum and in the Uganda media especially by adherents of Col. Besigye and the IPC project. I have been called a “mole” and it has been stated falsely that my wife works in State House! Many of those who pummelled me have now revised their views. Ssemujju Nganda for instance found occasion to write some good things about me after alleging that I was Museveni’s Trojan Horse! Yet I have consistently been fighting for peace and democracy even at a time when those currently pontificating about change were feeding and feeding off the totalitarian system.

Those who desire change should desist from malicious slurs and smear campaigns. I have also hurled offensive words in the direction of fellow opposition leaders but only in self-defence. Maligning me does not build opposition unity. It only works for the dictator. Those who think I can be pulverized with abandon should know that I may, I just may, be standing on the tipping point of Uganda’s destiny. I also have followers who know me and what I have to offer and what I have offered.
We cannot undo the past but we can heal the wounds of 2011 and find common ground. We have to find common ground not because we are the same but because we have differences. What unites us is the common whip of the oppressor.

To illustrate, Col. Besigye led some of my fellow DP leaders to Gulu where they lambasted me as a mole, a spoiler etc. People who in 2001 and 2006 saw Besigye as a saviour wondered why he had attached himself to the Ssubi 2011 anti-Mao group in DP which hung like a dark cloud over the party. The people watched in amazement as I was burnt at the stake of political opportunism and ambition. The result? Besigye, man who had been the darling of the people, came third in those districts. Lesson? Slurs don’t pay. Truth does.

I know some people will never accept that DP and Mao had the right to decide whether to join the IPC Bandwagon or not but let the future not find us squabbling about Mao. The true friends of Museveni and the real enemies of change are those who make people uncomfortable about the shape of the future and the content of a coalition for change.

If you fail to persuade someone to agree with your view point you don’t call them names. You sharpen your persuasive skills and hopefully convince them or let their persistence in error bring upon them a situation which will jolt them to abandon their wrong views.

I am sure I have made clear how strongly I feel about this matter. If we are wrong we deserve correction not coercion. Certainly we don’t gain much by maligning those drenched in the same rain of oppression.

My best wishes,

Norbert Mao

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