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Mao alone can’t negotiate a transition for Uganda: Rubongoya

NUP’s Lewis Rubongoya. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Secretary General of the National Unity Platform-NUP, David Lewis Rubongoya, has said the Democratic Party President, Norbert Mao should stop claiming he is in government for the general good of Ugandans.

Speaking to Uganda Radio Network in an exclusive interview, Rubongoya said Mao should bite a humble pie and keep quiet because his going to government was meant to benefit him and his Secretary General Gerald Siranda, and not the people of Uganda.

In the cooperation agreement that was signed between DP and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of the NRM, Mao was appointed as the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, while Siranda was to be supported by the NRM caucus in Parliament to be elected to the East African Legislative Assembly.

This week, Museveni in a television interview disputed claims that Mao was co-opted in government to ensure a political transition. Museveni said the reason he appointed Mao was because of the NRM principle of bringing on board its former critics for the unity of the country.

In the interview, Rubongoya said the only lasting dialogue would be one where all the major stakeholders are involved but not individuals.

Away from the politics of transition, Rubogonya also denied that there is tension in his own party especially between the party leadership and the parliamentary caucus. There have been media reports that the leader of opposition in parliament Mathias Mpuuga and Bobi Wine have grave disagreements on the way the former is handling parliamentary business. There is belief among NUP supporters that Mpuuga is not as aggressive towards the government as they would want him to be. This they say, has allowed the government to continue its crackdown against NUP supporters who have been arrested, others without trace. Even the continued detention of MPs; Muhammad Ssegirinya and Allan Ssewanyana is not sitting well with many NUP supporters. But Rubongoya says talks of disagreements is a media creation.

Meanwhile, Rubongoya also waded off criticism that his party is supporting the European Union Parliament resolution, putting a one-year moratorium on the construction of the East African Crude Oil pipeline because of their relationship with the EU. Rubongoya said whoever says that does so because of lack of knowledge about their 2021 party manifesto. He said they have always called for the respect of human rights and also the sustainable and proper management of the country’s resources.

“Human rights are universal and if the regime is violating them with impunity, the development partners must call them out and the language that these dictators understand is sanctions. You can’t violate people’s rights with impunity and then you want to cooperate with civilized people of the world. It is good to look at our situation in Uganda and you will realize that the benefit of these projects doesn’t go to our people. So, we are saying if the oil money gets in Museveni’s hands, Uganda will be like North Korea. If he is doing the things he is doing right now like buying off political opponents, how would he behave when we give him oil money,” said Rubongoya.

Rubongoya also warned Ugandans not to think so much about the money that will be realised from the sale of the oil. He said basing on how the country’s resources have been utilized in the past, it wouldn’t be a wild guess to conclude that even the oil money will benefit a few people.

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