The opposition Democratic Party (DP) presidential flag bearer Norbert Mao has given the country an explanation as to why Uganda’s oldest political party nearly missed out on presidential nominations.
Mao, who was nominated by the Electoral Commission today (Tuesday) afternoon said the party delayed to submit the signatures of registered voters to the Electoral Commission for the nomination of its candidate because they hoped for a joint opposition presidential candidate and added that the party could not begin soliciting signatures before holding its delegates conference.
“Our party believes in constitutionalism, not just constitution. Even dictators have constitutions. What we urge is constitutionalism namely, a rule based society. That is how we govern DP. Some people were asking, why has DP delayed? They even cartooned us that we are a tortoise. Finally we have arrived, a tortoise has arrived. The tortoise is here. Slow but sure,” he said.
Every presidential aspirant to be nominated by the Electoral Commission to stand for presidency is under the law required to submit to the Electoral Commission 100 signatures of registered voters from two thirds of all districts of Uganda.
In this case, every candidate had to submit signatures from at least 98 districts.
DP submitted the signatures this past Saturday and many Ugandans thought it was too late for the party because the Electoral Commission had already released a list of all aspirants whose signatures had been verified and cleared.
“Why did we delay? Because DP could not start collecting signatures before the national delegates conference which had to be postponed because of COVID-19. Some parties just put the Constitution aside and started endorsing their candidate and collecting signatures. Others adopted a ‘juwakari’ way of collecting signatures. As DP, we had to comply with our constitution which was drafted by the best legal minds from 1954 in Uganda,” he said.
“Secondly, we had some expectations that may be, those who believe in change would be able to build a sense of togetherness so we waited and waited. Since May 2018, we have been waiting. You can’t tangle alone. We did everything late because of those two reasons.”
“For those of you who doubted whether DP would have a candidate, here is your answer. Ugandans now know why DP is still standing after 56 years. Our party has withstood storms because it had got deep roots,” he added.
His campaign, he said, will be about values and vision, building, healing and reconciliation, a trans regime army among others.
“Uganda has never had a trans regime army. Each regime comes with its own army,” Mao said.