Norbert Mao is acting like the UNLA era Museveni
Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLF) was a political platform founded in 1978 by exiled Ugandans opposed to the Iddi Amin regime. Following the fall of Iddi Amin in early 1979, a government of national unity under the UNLF umbrella was put in place. However, owing to internal power struggles and other external forces, the UNLA was short lived.
Museveni who was the Minister of Defence and Vice Chairman of the powerful Military Commission played a vital role in the removal of President Yusuf Lule after serving for only 68 days. He made personal efforts to ensure that Edward Rugumayo did not replace Yusuf Lule but instead propelled Godfrey Binaisa.
His choice was driven by the desire to exploit the historical Baganda hatred for UPC and Obote. At
the time, Museveni was embroiled in a military race with the ‘northerners’ in the UNLF/A. Both Museveni and the Okellos were busy recruiting their own into the post Amin army (UNLA) in preparation for the control of the country’s political future.
Binaisa attempted to diffuse the political tension arising out of the military rank by moving Museveni, Oyite Ojok and Paulo Muwanga to lesser influential positions. Instead the three connived to overthrow him and their Military Commission took over government.
The Military Commission arranged the 1980 general elections where Museveni was opportunistically a contestant. He attempted to become the DP flagbearer but when he was frustrated he opted to form his own UPM. During the campaigns, he made it clear that if the elections were rigged, he was to go to the bush to fight government. Obviously, he was banking on the possibility of the DP being rigged out of victory and the historical hatred of the Baganda for UPC and Obote.
If there had been any form of rigging, it was by the Military Commission which organised the elections and he as the Vice Chairman never at any one time protested. Had the DP out rightly won the elections it would have been a heavy blow to Museveni’s presidential ambitions. He staged his Bush War in Buganda region to tap into the resentment of the Baganda peasants against UPC and Obote. He moved very fast to undermine and neutralise the other pro-Buganda fighting groups under Prof. Lule and Andrew Kayiira.
Museveni’s luck came when the Catholic Church and the DP used the predominantly Acholi UNLA soldiers to over throw the UPC and Obote govt in July 1985. He successfully manipulated the military junta during the failed Nairobi Peace Talks before he finally kicked them out in a military coup in January 1986. To gain national legitimacy, he had to bring on board the DP politicians. However, this marriage of convenience lasted only a few years before he discarded them while at the same time purging the Catholic army officers whom he suspected to be aligned to the DP. Consequently, over the years, the DP has lost out completely and is now back to 1958. Museveni is now in bed with the Remnants of the UPC and will soon suffer the same fate.
Norbert Mao is an Acholi politician from Gulu and President General of the DP. He was at one time the area M.P and later district local government leader before he contested for the presidency on the DP ticket. Like Museveni, Mao harbours childhood presidential ambitions. He is currently an archi-rival to the main opposition party, the FDC and Dr. Besigye not because he is against regime change but because he feels it is against his political schemes. He has a conviction that it’s the DP that should have been the lead opposition party and possible replacement to NRM. That’s why he brands the FDC as a faction of the “Bush Men” in reference to some of its top leaders who had been part of Museveni’s Bush War before the fall out.
He is banking on the traditional DP support in the Catholic church, the greater northern Uganda and the dominant Acholi soldiers in the army. In its scheme to suppress and subdue, the Museveni regime
maligned the greater North of Uganda and will continue to do so for obvious reasons. Norbert Mao has repeatedly and publicly stated that there are people who feel that the “Anyanya should never rule Uganda”.
Anyanya is a term coined by Museveni during his Bush War to refer to the people of Greater North. Mao has made it no secret of the desire for a secession of the Greater North into its own Nile Republic.
When he threw his weight behind former Premier, Mbabazi under the TDA, it’s not that he had seen strength in Mbabazi but just the potential to undermine FDC and Dr. Besigye. Make no mistake; Mao’s influence in Acholiland is undisputable. The tribal card in Acholiland is still as strong as it was in 1985 when they overthrew the UPC. He has succeeded in persuading the FDC leaders from Acholi to either keep a low profile or to directly attack the FDC and Dr. Besigye. He is also under immense pressure from the regime agents from Acholi.
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