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WHY UGANDANS SHOULD NOT VOTE FOR MAO IN 2011

By Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba

I was watching a film titled 'Schindlers's List' with my wife last week and she ended up crying at the end of it. The movie is about the horrors of living in a Nazi or Hitler dictatorship and the way the Jews were humiliated and killed. It portrays a kindness of the human condition that many people, today, are not that happy with. It is indeed a depressing film though I would recommend it to anyone. After watching this film, my mind just switched straight to the president of one of the DP factions, Norbert Mao, and what the people of northern Uganda have endured for the last 20 years since Museveni took over in 1986. Mao is quoted to have said in the Sunday Monitor newspaper on 21st February this year:'……… We are either full citizens, equal to all others, or non-citizens. The idea of the Nile State is actually a challenge to the Uganda government that we did not choose to be Ugandans ……….', in response to a question he was asked regarding his known agenda about secession of northern Uganda from Uganda.

Yes, the people of northern Uganda have gone through an ordeal and the rest of the country feels for them but at the same time, we want them to remain Ugandans. The Jews suffered under Hitler more than any race I have known in history after the abolition of slave trade, and probably they had a reason to ask for a 'special home' of their own after world war 11, but the people in the north already have a home in Uganda.

If Mao'S DP faction win Election 2011, the Uganda, which our forefathers fought to make one, is in very serious trouble. Mao is in the danger of favouring his region against others as we have come to witness in president Museveni's regime recently. Mao's secession propaganda has been known for a while and therefore it would be very wrong to make such a person a president of the whole country at a time when we are already more divided than before. We should support presidential candidates that support federalism in Uganda and not those who support both federalism and secession.

Comparing Mao to Obama?
It is also very wrong for some Ugandans to keep comparing Mao to president Obama since the later has never been a secessionist. Probably, it would be fair if Mao is compared to the current Republican favourite, Sarah Pallin. They are both young and supporters of secession projects. Sarah Pallin used to be a member of the Alaskan Independence Party (AIP), a fringe political party that advocates the secession of Alaska from the USA. Just months before Palin was announced as McCain's vice-presidential nominee, she delivered a videotaped address to the AIP's annual convention.

DP needs to be careful with Mao's agenda because their party might have been penetrated by Mao's secessionist groups. Rumour has it that Sarah Pallin may have been planted in the Republican Party by the AIP despite the initial denials by the McCain's camp when she was introduced to the national stage in 2008. There was a national convention in 2007 of secessionist groups where Vice president of AIP said that his party would seek to “infiltrate” the Democratic and Republican parties with candidates sympathetic to its secessionist agenda. Similarly, any sane Ugandan needs to question the motives of Mao in DP because he may be using the party to push his own personal agendas.

Do we ever learn from history?
I'm still surprised that leaders never learn anything from history. When Obote came back from his exile in Tanzania in the 1980s, he asked the opposition where their Generals were. He also promised to apply the 'law of Moses' to the Baganda and Banyarwanda whom he hated so much. The northerners were dominant in Obote's army(Obote 1) and UNLA(Obote 2). Then Museveni convinced the Baganda that we need to get rid of Obote to sort out what went wrong in both Obote 1 and Obote 2. However, I'm surprised today to see that the same mistakes Obote made are the same ones president Museveni is committing . He has geared his politics towards weakening the kingdom of Buganda. He has encouraged the formation of various chiefdoms in a country that had not more than four recognised kingdoms at independence in 1962.We are basically more divided as Ugandans than before such that we don't need another president who will make this situation worse.

I'm also surprised that Israel is subjecting almost the same 'slave�treatment to Palestines which is almost similar to what they went through under the Nazi dictatorship. Isreal has been supporting secessionist movements in Sudan, Iraq, Egypt and Lebanon and any secessionist movements in the Arab world which Israel considers an enemy.

Is Mao a threat to president Museveni?
I think the opposition in Uganda are more confused than I thought. I can assure you right now that so many people in the rural areas don't even know Mao. At least, I know for sure that my grandfather and grandmother don't know this guy. With Mao at the helm of Opposition in 2011, we may as well switch our attention to 2016 because Museveni will win that one hands down, without any necessary rigging.

The opposition already have a brand in Dr. Kiiza Besigye and they are wasting it just because they have seen a new kid on the block. This is not the time for novices (to borrow from Gordon Brown's description of David Cameroon last year). Mao cannot give M7 any sleepless nights. To be honest, if I was NRM, I would do anything to get either Mao or Mugisha Muntu as M7's opponent in 2011 because they cannot keep the 'big man' on his toes.

Because Mao has been elected DP president by one faction of DP, he is gonna affect the fortunes of the Inter Party Candidate( IPC) candidate in the north since some people in the north believe in him. With this, Museveni does not need to win the north to remain the president of Uganda come 2011 since Mao has already done the job for him.If DP-Mao fields candidates in Buganda in 2011, then the Buganda opposition vote will be divided between the IPC candidates. It will be the same everywhere if Mao goes ahead to think in terms of 'ONLY DP'.

However, If Mao is elected the IPC candidate I will go easy on him but I won't have any hope in the 2011 elections either. I don't know whether it's just excitement or what but Uganda politics right now cannot be sorted out by the likes of Mao.

We should all strive to keep the' one country, one people project' in Uganda despite the challenges in the country at the moment. Buganda and north have made it clear that they want federalism and I see no reason why some politicians want to twist people's minds toward secession. It would serve Mao best if he comes out now and denies secession claims before 2011 as Sarah Pallin did when she shot to the global stage in 2008.

Abbey Kibirige Semuwemba
UNITED KINGDOM