Uganda: Mao, Charismatic Ugandan Politician Blocked From Parliamentary Race

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Norbert Mao--what next?

[Africa: Uganda Elecions 2016]

GULU, Uganda--Considered one of Acholi region's most charismatic politicians, Norbert Mao, saw his political future in disarray this week when Uganda's Electoral Commission rejected his nomination to run for the parliamentary seat for Gulu Municipality.

The commission claimed the prominent politician's voter registration had expired and he hadn't renewed it on time.

At the same time Mao who sees regime political mischief at work has urged his supporters to instead vote for Komakech Lyandro to ensure that the parliamentary doesn't land in the hands of dictator Gen. Yoweri Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement  (NRM) party.

Mao also warned Gen. Museveni not to try and prolong his regime should he lose the Feb. 18, 2016 presidential election by a stage-managed palace coup as have been attempted in some African countries.

Mao himself is a former presidential candidate and leader of the opposition Democratic Party (DP). This time he was running for parliament.

Mao denounced being disqualified for non-registration as a maneuver by the ruling National Resistance Movement  (NRM) party of Gen. Yoweri Museveni to knock him off the ballot and pave the way for a pliant NRM candidate.

Thousands of his supporters gathered in Gulu to denounce the development. As a member of Parliament in the past Mao was considered as very effective in demanding resources for the marginalized region.

He said his plans for the next Parliament is to secure reparations for victims of the war between Gen. Museveni's army and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) of Joseph Kony. He says he also plans to bring a halt to land-grabs by investors linked to Gen. Museveni.

Mao points out that during the the official voters registration period he was ill and at one time hospitalized at Aga khan International Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. The electoral laws require that all candidates for elective office also be registered voters.

By 5pm Thursday all options to nominate Norbert Mao for the Gulu Municipality race closed.

Addressing supporters at Awere boma ground he pointed to the 2000 Uganda government Amnesty Act which he says hasn't been implemented. Mao said "government of Uganda should pay LRA war victims, those who have died during insurgency and the victims who were wounded.”

What's more, after the Juba Peace talks in year 2006, when the former LRA rebels surrendered, the government of Uganda never put into consideration the program of Demobilizations and Integrations, he said.

Mao spoke about the widespread land-grab campaigns by the Museveni regime by using some ministers from Acholi. The “government of Uganda has been using self-seeker NRM political moles just to grab land in the region, the likes of honorable Oryem Okello, foreign state minister, Oulanyah Jacob deputy speaker among other  political gimmicks.”

“Our land has minerals, including oil and gas, but all along the Museveni regime has been adamant saying that oil is in Bunyoro and West Nile region.”

Komakech Lyandro, whom Mao has now endorsed is a senior Researcher for the Refugee Law Project and a former lecturer at Makerere University in Kampala. "This is my political heir," Mao said. "Whoever wanted to vote for me let him or her vote for Lyandro. A vote for Lyandro is  vote for two people. A vote for me is a vote for Lyandro”.

Meanwhile a very popular political veteran, Okello Okello Livingstone, a former Chua county member of parliament was nominated today to go head-to-head with the incumbent, the NRM's Oryem Okello.

Mao's lawyers may sue the electoral commission seeking a reversal through court order.

Mao sees an end to Gen. Museveni’s reign and doubts the Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) would stage a coup to prevent an opposition leader from coming into office if Museveni loses next year.

“Should Museveni try a coup attempt after losing election, even Kenya and Tanzania will block us from access to their countries’ ports. Burundi and Burkina Faso tried coups but they have failed," Mao said.

On the other hand, George Obwola, NRM District Secretary General was ecstatic and claimed Mao’s political career is over.


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