Yesterday the shocker of the Cooperation Agreement between the Democratic Party (DP) and National Resistance Movement (NRM) is finally revealed. This agreement is leaked as there is internal in-fighting in the DP Party and DP MPs wants change of the leadership of the party. Secondly, DP Party President Norbert Mao is already appointed as the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. So, in that regard… I will digest and write what I see as important in the cooperation agreement that was signed yesterday.
Also, it is not a shocker that the agreement includes the DP getting an EALA MP, which they have tended to have. That’s why the DP has had one Member there, which happens to be Mukasa Mbidde who has had two terms and expires this year. That means the party needs someone else, because Mbidde has stayed the total 10 years in the EALA. So, an ally of Mao will be designated and picked for the slot, which is signed in the agreement. This is not giving up anything for the NRM who has offered this seat before to the DP. It is just continuing the partnership that way.
In addition, this is an agreement that gives both parties what they are asking for. The NRM seems to trading away things, but really they are not. They are getting a partner and a party which will follow their party line as government. That is initial parts of it and I will show that… It is not shocking, because it is not like President Museveni would trade away power or his ability to control the operations of government.
As I continue, I will first take an article from the agreement and right after it discuss it. Before, I in the end summarize and end it with a short take, which will not surprise anyone.
“3. The Democratic Party agrees to cooperate with the National Resistance Movement in supporting the overall governance agenda and supporting parliamentary votes on matters of confidence and supply for the full term of this Parliament. In addition, the Democratic Party will support the National Resistance Movement Government on procedural motions in the House and at Select/Sessional Committees on the terms set out in this agreement. This will provide Ugandans with the certainty of a strong, stable Government with support from the Democratic Party over the next five years” (Cooperation Agreement between the Democratic Party and the National Resistance Movement, 20.07.2022).
If you think this is beneficial for the DP… think again. This sort of agreement is a minor party supporting a vast majority. The NRM don’t need the support of the DP to pass legislation. However, the indirect support only malign the position of the DP who is becoming a branch of the NRM by doing so. This is why Museveni is happy. He gets even more “Good DP” on his side…
“8. This agreement supports the advance of the Government’s priorities by allocating portfolios and establishing areas of cooperation that are consistent with the direction and goals of the NRM Government, as well as contributing to addressing the Democratic Party’s aspirations” (Cooperation Agreement between the Democratic Party and the National Resistance Movement, 20.07.2022).
This here is just tragic, but man Mao has sold the DP Party for cheap. The DP will support and advance the NRM Government priorities, but they are hoping the same NRM government will consider their aspirations. The aspirations will fall flat when the DP has to support and advance the majority of the NRM. That is a fallacy and I cannot believe the DP leaders accepted it. The wording makes it easy assess that the winner takes all and the DP might aspire to achieve something. Regardless… we continue…
“12. Ministers from the Democratic Party will attend Cabinet Committees for items relevant to their portfolios and receive Cabinet Papers relevant to their portfolios, as provided for in the rules regulating Cabinet” (Cooperation Agreement between the Democratic Party and the National Resistance Movement, 20.07.2022).
This here was to be expected. That is given, but shows that the DP Minister and Mao himself will get an established role by the agreement. He will not be junior minister, but an entitled and honourable of that.
“16. The Parties will work together in good faith and cooperate with each other in respect of Executive and Parliamentary activities to advance these shared goals, including any public statements. The President may from time to time issue letters of expectations to Ministers and other officials from the Democratic Party and these letters will reflect the areas of policy cooperation and consultation processes required” (Cooperation Agreement between the Democratic Party and the National Resistance Movement, 20.07.2022).
Here the NRM got the DP whipped into submission. The DP has to follow and work in coordination with NRM. The DP will only release statements in accordance with the NRM or the Executive. This means the DP cannot defy or even spread any sort of message to the public without notifying the NRM. That is muffling them and ensuring total loyalty, which again shows the DP to be a branch of the NRM party here.
“20. The National Resistance Movement Government will also brief the Democratic Party on:
A. the broad outline of the legislative programme
B. broad Budget parameters and process” (Cooperation Agreement between the Democratic Party and the National Resistance Movement, 20.07.2022).
Here the DP get a nice catch after becoming a part of the NRM brach. They are at least getting briefed on the matters of budgets and process of the government. A government they are a part of. That shows they are an internal feature now. It says brief, so it doesn’t mean the DP get a say on the budgets, but get a first look and understanding at least.
“24. The Leader of the Democratic Party and the National Resistance Movement will meet every three months or as required to monitor progress against the areas of cooperation set out in this agreement. The Secretaries General will meet regularly” (Cooperation Agreement between the Democratic Party and the National Resistance Movement, 20.07.2022).
This is a micro-IPOD. The State House visits will be more frequent and the Minister/DP President will be a welcomed guest in the presence of His Excellency. The stipulation is securing a steady relations between and also coordinating efforts. Which will be the verbal agreements ahead of any sort decision made.
“26. The parties may establish a process in order to maintain different public positions on the areas of cooperation. The parties agree that matters of differentiation will be dealt with on a ‘no surprises’ basis” (Cooperation Agreement between the Democratic Party and the National Resistance Movement, 20.07.2022).
Just as the two leaders are talking on the regular, the DP already informed by vital aspects of government. The DP has to ensure they are not publishing or releasing any information without consent or agreed upon. This is further sealed off here and the DP has to await the “thumbs up” to speak their minds in public and within the lines of which are in “good faith”.
“30. In accordance with the Cabinet Rules , Ministers from the Democratic Party must support and implement Cabinet decisions in their portfolio areas. However, Ministers from the Democratic Party will not be restricted from noting where that policy may deviate from the Democratic Party policy on an issue. If this is required, it may be noted in the Cabinet minute that on a key issue, the Democratic Party position differs from the Cabinet decision” (Cooperation Agreement between the Democratic Party and the National Resistance Movement, 20.07.2022).
Here the DP Minister becomes practically a soldier for the NRM. The party emblem and the DP is undermined totally. Not only by the other provisions, which is already mentioned. That is undercutting and taking away the liberties and freedoms of the DP. This here makes it possible not to aspire, but to be a tool of implementation only. Meaning whatever the DP aspires too. That will not go anywhere… when the DP minister just has to follow Cabinet decisions and earlier promise to “support” and “advance” government priorities.
“33. Ministers from the Democratic Party will be bound by the principle of Cabinet confidentiality, as set out in the Cabinet Rules” (Cooperation Agreement between the Democratic Party and the National Resistance Movement, 20.07.2022).
This is a continuation of the “not speaking to the public until being told”. The DP has to await clearance and be vouched for before being public. It is surely designated to ensure secrecy and silence of the ones anointed into the government. Mao and DP really has to contain themselves, as they cannot renegade or act in any sort of defiance. They just have to follow “command and obey”.
“40. The Parties agree to a ‘no surprises’ approach to new private Members’ Bills. However, neither party is under any obligation to support the other party’s private Members’ Bills” (Cooperation Agreement between the Democratic Party and the National Resistance Movement, 20.07.2022).
Again, ‘no surprises’ and its for the reasons stated before. Everything is supposed to be coordinated and ensure to follow the ‘correct line’. This is streamlining the working relationship. We know the DP already has to support and vote for government priorities. So, the issue of no obligations of supporting “private bills” are hopeless. When that is a sort of way to get the Executive what he needs and wants. The DP Party President knows this and certainly there will be times when this article is useless…
“42. The Democratic Party undertakes to keep full voting numbers present whenever the House is sitting where the Democratic Party has committed to support the National Resistance Movement Government and on matters of confidence and supply. The Democratic Party also undertakes to keep full voting numbers in Committee, unless otherwise agreed” (Cooperation Agreement between the Democratic Party and the National Resistance Movement, 20.07.2022).
This here is just showing the DP has to be loyal, submissive and just do as they are told. That is the endgame of the ‘no surprises’ paradigm. It is really something else. The DP might aspire to things, but in the end they will be swallowed and eaten alive by the priorities of the NRM government. No way this is ending well. No, Mao got his role and the game is rigged for him. Museveni wouldn’t have signed this agreement, unless he knew who would get the upper-hand and he did so by a landslide.
A brief summery:
Mao will not ‘surprise’ anyone and the DP will still aspire to things. The NRM has gotten a new branch and a new unit working under it’s “umbrella”. The Democratic Party sold itself very cheap and there is little in the agreement that gives Mao or the DP any sort of possibilities to gain much power. They are within the reach of the Executive and get to hold talks. However, the DP has to listen and “obey”. The DP isn’t allowed to operate without consent. That is really the gist here and they have to serve the NRM. While the NRM don’t have to do or act in any sort of way. They are furthering their “priorities” anyway and the DP MPs has to vote in accordance. Peace.