Democratic Party President, Norbert Mao, has urged Ugandan opposition to take lessons from what Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga, by swearing himself in as a people’s president and starting a parallel government.
In a democracy, there can be disagreements and policy contests, Mao said Thursday night while appearing on NBS “Frontline” programme.
He said when Odinga takes a symbolic oath, it has a corrosive effect on the legitimacy on the one occupying State House in Nairobi.
According to Mao, anything that de-legitimatises or exposes the illegitimacy of the regime, is good enough.
“We are talking about symbolism as far as I’m concerned. The people’s president can’t order any contracts to be signed but the symbolism is important and you can’t ignore it.”
He added: “Saying that we are in an illusion also applies to them (NRM). In terms of comparison, you have to study Kenya and their struggle. There are things we should do as people who want change.”
Mao said Kenya is a relevant example for Uganda because it challenges us. Raila can now launch a missile because the base is there.
By and large, people are united — in Uganda, people are calling for unity, Mao went on.
“We need a united front. It’s important we learn that from Kenya. In a struggle for democracy, the classroom is the streets. It’s very rare to sit in a boardroom and become democratic.”
Government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, who was appearing on the same show said in the case of Uganda, there was a peaceful ascendancy of president to power.
If people believe Besigye had won elections and this government was a fraud, they would have refused to pay taxes and support other government programmes, Opondo argued.
“His [Besigye] MPs even defied him and took oath and are in their offices.”
Opondo attacked Mao for faulting Minister Chris Baryomunsi because he is in government.
“Did he expect as to support his view point to just appease him?” Opondo wondered.
He said Ugandans are more conscious than the people in opposition.
“We need to disabuse this argument for convenience. When we started national ID reregistration, Besigye discouraged Ugandans. When he convinced Mao not to register, he went and registered from Moroto.”
He added: “There is contestation. Is the contestation valid and viable in the minds of Ugandans? Besigye knows that it’s possible to have a democratic contestation.”
Former Ethics and Integrity minister, Miria Matembe, said she was so amazed with Odinga’s swearing in.
The fact that he went to Uhuru Park, all these people who are being denied their rights came to show that they have their own president, Matembe noted.
She said people are different and behave differently and thus Kenyan people have a history which is different from that of Uganda.
“We have never known how to struggle and assert ourselves. The bush war didn’t involve all Ugandans.”
She added: “When Museveni arrived, he put ten point programme but we didn’t know he had another hidden agenda. He devised his strategy to make sure these Ugandans dis-empowered.”