The opposition Democratic Party (DP) presidential candidate Norbert Mao has revealed that opposition forces are proposing to launch a no violence campaign as the polling date draws nearer.
Mao made the revelation while speaking to reporters in Kampala on Tuesday.
“We believe that in addition to the election, there must be a national dialogue leading to a national conference to build a consensus on what to be done in the next 5 years. You notice that as pro change forces, we have signed a document which we have made public committing to a culture of civility and we have proposed to launch what we called a no violence campaign,” Mao said.
Uganda will go to the polls on January 14, 2021 to elect the country’s next leader.
However, since the commencement of campaigns, opposition presidential candidates especially Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine of National Unity Platform (NUP) and Patrick Amuriat Oboi of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) have always clashed with police over failure to observe COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) put in place by the Electoral Commission and Ministry of Health to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The election campaign violence hit its peak on November 18, 2020 when Bobi Wine was arrested in Luuka district for holding a rally that had more than 200 people allowed by the Electoral Commission.
His arrest sparked public outrage as people took to the streets of Kampala and major towns violently protesting the police act. At least 54 people are known to have lost their lives in the protests as security forces tried to restore sanity.
Mao said that DP is highly credible when it comes to non violence, adding that change of Government without bloodshed is possible through the national dialogue and national conference standing on the “trust telling process where those found to have wronged Ugandans seek forgiveness by repentance.”
He, however, noted that campaigns have been a huge challenge as opposition presidential candidates are harassed by security forces.
“Those who are in charge of keeping law and order seem to have taken sides. Indeed we are not campaigning against NRM (ruling party) or against President Museveni, we are actually campaigning against the Ugandan State. I don’t see NRM leaders on the ground. I only see State operatives. I see the police, I see the military. The environment in which we are campaigning is hostile,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mao, who happens to be among the 11 candidates contesting for Uganda’s top job, reiterated what he intends to do for the Ugandan people if he becomes the country’s next leader.
These include “zero tolerance to corruption” which according to him, means zero tolerance to anybody on whom any corruption complaint has been filled.
“Leaders must be exemplary. We propose that the declaration forms for assets and liabilities should be open to the public.”
He accused the office of the Inspectorate of Government (IG) tasked to fight graft in public service, of being closed to the members of the public.
“The IGGs office is like a witch doctor’s shrine. You never know what is in there. Even if you went to ask for my declaration of assets and liabilities form, you will not find it. That file should be open to all citizens. In fighting corruption, no weapon is better than transparency,” he said.
Mao’s other promise to Ugandans is what he called a “life style audit” to all public officials. He said Ugandans should stop celebrating “ill gotten wealth.”
“If tomorrow you heard that I bought one of the towers in Kampala and renamed it Norbert Mao plaza, people should ask, how have you acquired it? Where did you get the money? Ugandans don’t seem to ask those questions. So I call upon all Ugandans to stop celebrating ill gotten wealth,” he said.
Leadership, he said, should be about service and noted that his “DP Government” will conduct an audit on every public official.
Mao also hopes to tackle income inequality (the income gap between rich and poor) by improving mechanisms to facilitate good quality living standards through provision of health insurance, public housing, cutting the cost of building materials, giving low interest mortgages to young couples among others.
Mao also promised Ugandans the restoration of presidential terms that were scrapped during the 2005 constitution amendment.