The ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party has signed a 'working cooperation agreement' with the opposition Democratic Party (DP) at State House, Entebbe.
President Yoweri Museveni, also the NRM chairman, signed on behalf of the party, while Norbert Mao, signed on behalf of DP which he leads as president. According to a press release, the NRM secretary general, Richard Todwong and that of DP, Gerald Siranda, witnessed the signing.
Speaking after the signing, Museveni congratulated Mao upon 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 in all the corners of Uganda," Mao said.
He said that DP is committed to adhering to what has been agreed upon.
"This is a living document. It has to continue growing and we have signed it in a good faith," Mao said, adding that documents signed show that they have managed to resolve the contradictions that they have been having.
He saluted the courage of Museveni exhibited all through and the risks he has taken saying that he is the captain of the ship called Uganda and that it is important to pray for him as he leads.
It is not yet clear what is contained in the signed memorandum. DP, Uganda’s oldest political party, joins Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) to agree to work with the NRM. The agreement all but confirms long-held suspicions that Mao had 'sold out' the party to Museveni.
DP suffered a breakaway in the last general election when over 11 party members including Betty Nambooze, Mathias Mpuuga, Joseph Ssewungu, Semakula Luttamaguzi, Medard Ssegona, Muwanga Kivumbi, Allan Ssewanyana, Ssempala Kigozi, Robinah Ssentongo, among others joined the newly formed National Unity Platform (NUP). Mao is also not new to political controversial especially when it comes to attacking fellow opposition politicians; FDC's Kizza Besigye and NUP's Robert Kyagulanyi for their alleged lack of strategies to hound NRM out of power.