Updated by Faith Barbara Namagembe at 1628 EAT on Thursday 21st July 2022.
Less than 24 hours after signing a ‘working cooperation agreement’ with the opposition Democratic Party (DP), President Yoweri Museveni has today Thursday appointed DP president Norbert Mao as the new Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister in a mini cabinet reshuffle.
Mao replaces Muruli Mukasa, the Public Service minister who was appointed acting Justice minister earlier this year. Mao, who has for long been accused of being an ‘opposition mole’ due to his incessant attacks on fellow opposition colleagues and parties specifically Dr Kizza Besigye of Forum for Democratic Change and Robert Kyagulanyi of the National Unity Platform, will (pending his acceptance) now officially start working with and for the very government, he sometimes criticized and wanted to oust out of power.
He will join Beti Kamya who also abandoned her party to join Museveni’s cabinet, where she currently works as Inspectorate General of Government (IGG). Furthermore, Museveni has also appointed Hamson Obua as the government chief whip.
Obua has been the state minister for Education and Sports where he has been replaced by Peter Ogwang, the minister of state, Office of the President (Economic Monitoring). Ogwang has been replaced by Beatrice Akello Akori (NRM) the Agago Woman MP.
Green cover, yellow flesh
Incidentally, not so long ago this year, Mao was accusing Besigye and Kyagulanyi of working secretly for Museveni while disguising as opposition. He even threatened to unleash volumes of evidence if provoked further.
He also recently asked a section of DP members who were toying with the National Unity Platform of being like watermelons that are green (DP) on the cover but red in flesh (NUP) to leave the party so it can function normally.
Some reiterated and also accused him of being like a pumpkin – green on the outside (DP) but yellow inside (NRM) and being a Museveni sellout. NRM enthusiasts have since showered Mao with praises for joining the ‘working and winning’ party, saying being in opposition doesn’t necessarily mean not working with the government.
After the cooperation signing yesterday, Museveni congratulated Mao for agreeing to work on steering DP to work with the NRM. He noted that this is something that should have happened at the top administrative level long ago.
“You know the history. I keep telling you that DP without Museveni is not a serious group because I was a very active member of DP,” Museveni said and added that he was very happy with this milestone. He said that although DP has been supporting the opposition, they have been friendly and not destructive.
On his part, Mao appreciated the ‘milestone’ on behalf of his party, saying that this is a continuous journey which started before some of them were born. He told Museveni that he now has the historical opportunity to gather party members scattered all over Uganda. According to Mao, Museveni will be appreciated even after death for this agreement.
“You must look for them wherever they are in all the political parties and all the corners of Uganda,” Mao said.
He said that DP is committed to adhering to what has been agreed upon.