President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday 21st July, 2022 appointed Norbert Mao as the new Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs of Uganda.
Mao is the president General of Democratic Party, an opposition political party.
He replaced the Minister of Public Service Muruli Mukasa who had been serving in the acting capacity.
“By virtue of the authority conferred on the President by Article 113 (1) and 114 (1) of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, I hereby appoint persons below as cabinet Ministers and Ministers of state….. Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs- Hon. Norbert Mao, Chairman General of the Democratic Party,” President Museveni said in a statement dated 21st July, 2022.
The development followed a cooperation agreement between ruling party NRM and DP.
The pact was signed on Wednesday 20th July, 2022 at State House, Entebbe.
President Museveni, also the National Chairman of NRM, signed on behalf of the party, while DP President General, Mao, signed on behalf of Uganda’s oldest political party.
NRM secretary General, Hon. Richard Todwong and that of DP, Dr. Gerald Siranda, also witnessed the signing.
President Museveni, after the signing, congratulated Hon. 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,” he said.
The President said that DP had good quality and was definitely sincere and more straight forward.
H.E Museveni said he was very happy with this milestone, saying that all this time although DP has been supporting opposition, they have not been destructive.
“Although DP has been in the opposition, they have not been destructive. They criticise but are not destructive,” he said.
On his part, the DP President General 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 President Museveni that he now has the historical opportunity to gather party members scattered all over Uganda.
“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 and that this is a living document that should continue growing.
“This is a living document. It has to continue growing and we have signed it in a good faith,” he said.
Mao said the documents signed shows that they have managed to resolve the contradictions that they have been having.
He saluted the courage President Museveni exhibited all through and the risks he has taken saying that Museveni is the captain of the ship called Uganda and that it is important to pray for Museveni as he leads Uganda.
Who is Norbert Mao?
Mao was born on 12 March 1967. His father, Dusman Okee Sr. (5 January 1942 – 3 January 2016), was an Acholi and his mother was a Munyankole.
Mao attended Mwiri Primary School in Jinja and briefly went to Wairaka College in Jinja District before attending Namilyango College, a prestigious all-boys boarding high school in Mukono District from 1982 until 1988. He then attended Makerere University between 1988 until 1991, graduating with a law degree.
He served as the president of the Makerere University Students Guild between 1990 and 1991. He went on to obtain the Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Center in 1992.
In 2003, Mao was admitted to Yale University, under the Yale World Fellows Program, where he spent one year at the New Haven, Connecticut campus.
From 1992 until 1994, Mao worked as an associate attorney in the offices of Kabugo and Company Advocates, a Kampala-based law firm. Between 1994 and 1996, he worked as a legal counsel for the Legal Aid Project of the Uganda Law Society in their Gulu office.
In 1996, he was elected to the Parliament of Uganda, representing Gulu Municipality. While in parliament, he served on the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee and the Public Accounts Committee. He resigned from Parliament in 2006 and was elected chairman of Gulu District.
Mao helped to found the Great Lakes Parliamentary Forum on Peace (AMANI Forum).
He was instrumental in trying to bridge the gap between the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels and the Ugandan government by lobbying for the passage of a general amnesty law aimed at bringing a peaceful resolution to armed conflict in northern Uganda.
He was elected as President of the Democratic Party on 20 February 2010 and unsuccessfully ran for President of Uganda in the 2011 general election.
The DP faced a lot of challenges that led to a split and deep polarization at the height of the election. He attracted only a small share of the vote, and President Yoweri Museveni was elected to another term. Mao and Inter Party Coalition presidential candidates Kizza Besigye and Olara Otunnu, among others, protested the election results in spite of its early approval by international observers and the United States as largely free and fair.
In the 2020-2021 general elections, Mao again unsuccessfully ran for Uganda’s top office. The elections were won by President Museveni.
Mao was married to Naomi Achieng Odongo, and they have two sons together.They divorced on 27 May 2019, after 16 years of marriage. He speaks Luo, Luganda, Runyankole, and English fluently. Mao is a step-brother to Daniel Kidega, the speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly.
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