DP president Norbert Mao has offered himself to be chosen as the joint opposition presidential candidate in the forthcoming 2016 presidential elections.
By Moses Mulondo
DEMOCRATIC Party (DP) president Norbert Mao has offered himself to be chosen as the joint opposition presidential candidate in the forthcoming 2016 presidential elections.
The former presidential candidate said mistakes done in the past made them realize as the opposition that the best way to remove NRM from power is by creating a joint electoral platform.
“As the opposition, we plan to have a joint presidential candidate to stand against NRM’s sole candidate and I want to be that candidate. I believe I have more to offer,” Mao said.
Asked whether he can really put up a formidable bid for president when in the 2011 presidential elections he got a dismal percentage of 1.8%, Mao said, “By my history, I don’t lose more than once. If you defeat me the first time, I learn quickly and prepare adequately to defeat you the second time we face off.”
Mao also attributed his poor performance in 2011 to internal squabbles which caused some DP stalwarts to support FDC’s Kizza Besigye instead of campaigning for the DP candidate.
“We have moved away from that. DP is now less divided than it was when I had just taken over. We are now working together with those who boycotted the Mbale delegates’ conference,” he elaborated.
Mao said since DP currently more united that any other opposition political party, it is better placed to offer a joint opposition candidate.
“All DP leaders are working together. During the recent celebrations of DP at 60 years, I was the one giving the microphone to people like Erias Lukwago, Betty Nambooze and Brenda Nabukenya yet they used to criticize me. That cannot happen in NRM,” Mao argued.
Giving more explanation on why he thinks DP is in a better state than other opposition parties, Mao said, “In FDC, Muntu and Nandala Mafabi’s camps don’t work together.
In UPC, Otunnu and Akena have failed to work together. In CP, Ken Lukyamuzi has failed to work with his secretary general. In JEMA, the youth leaders have turned against the leadership of the party. You should give us some credit.”
Mao was provoked to make the remarks after he was asked to explain whether he had succeeded in uniting the various factions within the party.
Asked to rate his performance ever since he took over DP leadership almost five years ago, Mao said, “I have done better than my predecessor John Ssebaana Kizito. I won three districts and Kizza Besigye who was in the race for the third time won only four districts. Ssebana never won a single district. He was defeated even in Kampala where he had been a mayor.”
Describing himself as a leader with support from his home area of Gulu which is one of the three districts he won, Mao said the best joint opposition candidate should have a strong home base to challenge the incumbent.
Other potential candidates for a joint opposition candidate include former Vice President Prof. Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya, Dr. Kizza Besigye, former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, Gen David Sejusa, FDC’s Mugihsa Muntu, and UPC’s Olara Otunnu.
The process of choosing a joint opposition presidential candidate will be very complicated and unlikely to succeed due to the absence of a charismatic figure accepted across the opposition divide and the insalubrious rivalry between opposition parties which failed similar attempts in the 2011 general elections.
Meanwhile, Mao commended the initiative of talks between the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda and the Leader of Opposition Wafula Oguttu to reinstate the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.
He also appealed to the executive and parliament to give priority to constitutional reforms over any other business because they have a bearing on the stability of the country.
Mao offers his candidature for opposition coalition