DEBATE ON POWER TRANSITION RESUMES ACROSS THE POLITICAL DIVIDE

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A cross-section of political observers have welcomed a call by Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister Norbert Mao asking President Museveni to prepare for a peaceful transition of power, or risk dragging the country back into the dark past of civil strife and political turmoil.

To stop that from happening again, the Cabinet minister said Museveni owes it both to his legacy and the country to prepare for a peaceful hand-over to the next leader of Uganda.

Mao yesterday said it is time for the country to discuss what has, at times, been a rather sensitive topic canvassing what a post-Museveni era should look like.

Nearly two years ago, the President had denied ever talking about the question of power transition with Mao as part of a deal in which the Democratic Party (DP) leader signed a cooperation agreement with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) on July 20, 2022.

But the Justice Minister’s comments, made during the National Symposium on Transitional Justice at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala yesterday, seemed to breathe new life into longstanding demands by various political actors for a frank discussion about the country’s political future. 

Erias Lukwago, the Kampala City Lord Mayor, and interim leader of a splinter group of the Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), says that what Mao is talking about is correct, but it is the Opposition that is already leading the transition process.

Patrick Amuriat Oboi, who leads the FDC group in Najjanankumbi, said the biggest gift Museveni can give the country is to preside over a peaceful transition of power.

The National Coordinator of the Alliance for National Transformation party, Ms Alice Alaso, observed that they have for a long time been reminding the President about this important matter since 2005 when he reportedly engineered the removal of term limits.

Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC)’s Secretary General Fred Ebil did not differ from his colleagues by taking the view that Museveni is best placed to oversee peaceful political transition in Uganda.

Waxing philosophical, Daudi Kabanda, the deputy spokesperson of the recently formed Patriotic League of Uganda (PLU), a political outfit led by the president’s son, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, said people write their wills when still alive so that when one dies, they live their homes organised, therefore, he said president Museveni should use this chance when still alive to prepare his departure and prepare someone who can continue with his achievements.

Charity Ahimbisibwe, the executive director of the Electoral Law and Governance Institute, agreed with Mao’s fears that the country could again be plunged into crisis.

She said a committee for transition must be formed through constitutional bodies like the Judicial Service Commission to ensure a democratic change of guard.

However, Deputy presidential press secretary Faruk Kirunda said the matter of managing transition in Uganda is a bit of a redundant discussion. 

He noted that it is clearly spelt out in the Constitution how to go about it so Ugandans shouldn’t be anxious about it. 

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