By : Aldrine Nsubuga
Green will say, he betrayed them. Yellow are saying, he saw the light. Blue feels nothing, they’ve seen it all. And red? too new to understand anything. They are shocked and angry.
I was in 2nd year when we elected him as our guild president at MUK. His seductive prowess using eloquence and colourful jargon had created a euphoria around the campus that guaranteed him a landslide when the final vote was cast. From then on, flair became his brand.
His calm outlook and flamboyant manner – both draped in diplomacy – have endeared him to the most cynical political commentators through the years, many of who would have dismissed him as just another technocrat. But as his brilliance, humour and powers of discernment to keep audiences spell bound took root, cracks begun to appear. Norbert Mao was perhaps too good to be true. A leader of the Democratic Party who consistently dined with the enemy at night and played the neutral card whenever push came to shove.
If DP is about human rights, peace, truth and justice, Mao espoused all the tenets. The perfect con. Infront of cameras he was acerbic towards the regime, often times mocking it’s leaders and going outright native in his criticisms. Sadly, many of his party members and supporters knew him not and so cheered his every word. Capital Gang, Barometer; were the place to be.
This week, Ugandans finally got to meet the real Mao. The resplendently dressed politician finally came clean with the most audacious move since Saul turned to Paul – he sold his party in the light of day. If thieves come at night, Mao struck at noon. All smiling, all looking victorious, he stood infront of cameras this time to say – it’s done.
Different from millions who think Mao has committed sacrilege, I was impressed. In publicly consummating his marriage with the ‘enemy’ Mao was being Mao. He will argue that respect of human rights as among fundamental freedoms also include respecting one’s decision to switch parties. He would be right. If he was able to dupe his party for more than three decades, a period during which he even rose to the party’s highest office it can’t be his problem. Mao is a reflection of what Uganda has become. He is now a national symbol of what politics is about. If it’s about capturing power or being in power, then it’s about managing economic resources – money.
For all his oratory skills, amiable personality, brilliance and diplomacy, he knew he would never be president of this country and his party will never capture power. And he believes he is too good to miss out completely. If kaarma is a bitch, Mao – the president of the party that preaches truth and justice – is the new Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. Mao is a lawyer by profession.. Could it be that this was always his destiny? Shouldn’t we keep the swords behind our backs for now and see whether he will fight for truth and justice as line Minister?
For me, it’s down to Mao’s brilliance that he has pulled off the greatest heist in the history of Uganda politics. That he single handedly authored an MOU on behalf of his party with a sitting government, sold out the party and earned himself the top seat in the temple of justice – as Minister of Justice and Constitutional affairs – without detection from unsuspecting party members is an act of genius. Mao is not the problem – we Ugandans are the problem. It is we who have sold out our country. Mao is just being Mao – brilliant, smart. An ice cold assassin who cares about nothing but himself. But then again, don’t we all
work for our own sakes?
Opinion: by Aldrine Nsubuga