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By Mulengera Reporter

Democratic Party (DP) President General Norbert Mao has lashed at members of a faction opposed to his leadership as “sectarian” and hell-bent on kicking him out of the party because of his ethnicity.

Wrangles within Uganda’s oldest political organization have torn the party apart, with members of two warring factions physically assaulting and insulting each other before the full glare of press cameras.

Last Friday, a group that wants Mao out filled vacant positions in an event held at Rubaga in Kampala. The faction elected Wakiso District LCV Chairman Matia Lwanga Bwanika as DP National Chairperson, Busiro East MP Medard Lubega Sseggona as Secretary General, Mary Babirye Kabanda as National Treasurer, Patrick Katuramu as her deputy, Racheal Kagoya as Deputy Women’s leader, and Alex Kiwanuka as Busoga Region representative.

The group, through Rajab Senkubuge’s application in the High Court, had secured Justice Andrew Bashaija’s order to hold the elections on March 13. These members are expected to make decisions on the running of the party, including elections to choose a new president general.

But Mao told reporters at City House in Kampala on Tuesday that his faction didn’t recognize the elected members, adding that DP was not aware of the court order since it was addressed to Democratic Party Uganda, and not Democratic Party which he leads.

The vocal politician also noted that DP was never served with any hearing notice, and the petitioner appointed a lawyer for the party without Mao’s knowledge. Even when Samuel Muyizi is DP’s legal adviser, added Mao, the party had not instructed him to represent it in any matter before court.

Mao also complained that those scheming to eject him out of the DP were doing so on ethnic grounds.

“They attack me because I am an Acholi. I did not apply to be born from Acholi, and I can’t run away from it,” said Mao.

He added that those fighting him have never risen on the floor of Parliament to defend Buganda.

“Some of them may not even be Baganda even when they are in Buganda,” added Mao.

Other DP members Mao accused of tribalism, besides those that were elected at Rubaga, include: Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, and former presidential candidate Abed Bwanika.

Although it had members outside regions in Central Uganda’s Buganda a few decades after its formation, DP has for years been dominant among Catholics and Baganda.

Mao took over from John Ssebaana Kizito in 2005, and is seeking reelection after 10 years at the helm. Ssebaana had led DP for five years after taking over from Paul Kawanga Ssemogerere, who led the party for 25 years.

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