Strategic leaders across the globe are never self-reliant. They often depend on others for continued survival. Having signed a cooperation agreement, presidents Museveni and Mao are now co-principals.
Mao helps Museveni and vice versa. They now equally need each other to spur change in governance.
Agreeably, Mao, a naturally gifted orator, is such an intellectual and potential leader that any serious person would wish to pattern with for strategic reasons. Despite his intellectual power, he is pretty humble, respectful and straight forward.
Apart from being a principled and objective politician, he is also an accomplished diplomat.
Mao is largely respected across the country. After the unfortunate demise of Jacob Oulanyah, the former speaker of Parliament, the new Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs is now the most powerful and influential leader from Acholi and Lango sub regions (Northern Uganda) , having joined Government under a binding cooperation agreement.
As the working cooperation agreement allows the DP President to remain in his mother political party, he will need to integrate and adhere to the principles of the Democratic Party such as justice, the rule of law and constitutionalism, human rights, democracy and good governance for the benefit of Ugandans.
The cooperation agreement should be a game-changer. He has to continue advising government and providing alternative policy the way he has been doing before.
He will need to champion meaningful constitutional and electoral reforms, spearhead national cohesion and unity, national dialogue, support the sustainable growth and consolidation of multi-partyism, anti-graft efforts, media freedom as well as advocating for the release of all political prisoners, especially those for whom justice has over delayed.
The agreement ought to be treated with utmost respect and honesty. No manipulation, no sabotage.
There should be real consistency, maturity and clear evaluation mechanisms in its implementation. Let government exploit Mao’s immense potential to bring about positive change in governance.
Uganda is not an island. Alliances and coalitions have been witnessed in several countries in the region and most of them have yielded positive results.
Let us avoid emotions, good practices can be emulated and adopted from elsewhere.
In our neighbouring Kenya, Raila Odinga was for decades an arch rival of President Uhuru Kenyatta. Currently the two leaders have formed an alliance to work together and none of them has abandoned their political parties. Even before that, Odinga had inked a cooperation agreement with Kibaki’s government after severe tensions in Kenya.
Former Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila and his then arch rival Étienne Tshisekedi did the same before the later won the elections to take up the reigns of DRC’s leadership. None abandoned their mother parties. President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is also renowned for comfortably working with some willing opposition leaders.
The Late Morgan Tshvangirai , one of the most powerful opposition leaders of Zimbabwe and one of the most oppressed by the Robert Mugabe state machinery, also finally signed a cooperation agreement to work with the latter as prime minister. He never crossed to the ZANU-PF.
The most significant urge of any opposition leaders that choose to work with government is to serve their people, to influence change in governance and service delivery.
It is not necessarily selfishness as often perceived.
My strong belief is that Mr. Mao seeks to achieve just that goal. Let us give him the benefit of doubt and support as we curiously monitor the situation.
The National consultative forum for political parties – NCF strongly stands for dialogue, reconciliation, consensus building, unity, peaceful co-existence, among other principles. We therefore pray for tangible results from the Mao –Museveni cooperation, to benefit the entire country.
Ssentongo Muzafalu Zabaana
Secretary General, Green Partisan Party
Member National Consultative Forum for Political Parties-NCF
Secretary, NCF Media Committee.