By Adrienne S. McCord
Norbert Mao is the leader and Presidential Candidate of the
Democratic Party of Uganda. He is also the current Chairman of Gulu
District in Northern Uganda. Prior to this he loyally served for ten
years as a Member of Parliament. As the political leader of the most
war affected area in Uganda, he has remained ever vigilant and engaged
in peace building and reconstruction efforts. He is a charismatic
leader with an unbeatable record of successfully delivering on his
In 2011 Norbert Mao will be the next president of Uganda.
Norbert Mao, a centrist who focuses on democratic reform, peace-
building and moderate politics as the centerpiece of his crusade,
casts himself as a bridge between the north and south; he is best
poised to bring national healing as the new president. His blessed
double heritage of an Acholi father and a Munyankole mother places him
across the divide that has defined the ethnic north-south mantra since
1986. A gifted orator in many languages, Mao speaks fluent Luganda
English, Kiswahili and Luo. He also has a working knowledge of several
other Ugandan languages including Lusoga, Runyankore.
Mao's candidature is also symbolic of the primacy of civilian rule
over military dictatorship. Uganda still remains one of the few
countries that have never had a peaceful handover of power. In Uganda,
change of government has always come with guns blazing or guns drawn.
In February 2011 DP President Norbert Mao will prove that government
can and will be changed peacefully through the power of the ballot,
President Mao is more than qualified for the highest political office
with two decades of leadership experience and multiple degrees in law
and development studies. He is an enrolled Advocate of the Ugandan
Courts of Judicature. In 1998 he was honored among ten attorneys of
distinction by the Uganda Law Society. In addition he is in a select
group of those honored as a Yale World Fellow and proud graduate of
the prestigious Yale Global Leadership Program which he attended in
He has a track record of successfully attaining his goals and being
elected into leadership positions by those who recognize his ability
to lead. The people of Uganda consistently keep him in office because
Norbert Mao puts his words into action.
Norbert Mao is a born leader. His quest to serve others began when he
was still in Magwa Primary School where he led the Debating Team. At
Namilyango College he was again chosen as a true organizer and served
as Head-Prefect before becoming President of the students’ guild at
Makerere University. Norbert Mao’s election as the president of the
students’ guild has been recorded as the hottest campaigns in the
history of Makerere University. After his landslide victory he proved
to be among the most vibrant guild presidents the university has ever
had. Under his leadership, the students mounted a struggle against the
now discredited Structural Adjustment Program.
From Makerere University at a very tender age in 1996, he contested
for the Gulu municipality seat and beat a cabinet minister Betty
Bigombe to become Member of Parliament, where he was successfully re-
elected in 2001 for a second term. As a man of principle, he promised
that he would serve only two terms in parliament and true to his word,
in 2006 he did not compete even when he was still very popular.
After a decade in the national parliament, Mao did not seek re-
election but instead heeded the call of his constituents to instead
contest for the leadership of the Gulu district local government then
comprising five parliamentary constituencies and a geographical area
half the size of Belgium. Because of his proven track record of
listening to the voters and acting in their best interests he won the
election with about 80 percent of the vote.
Norbert Mao prefers the power of thoughtful action over misdirected
military response, yet he has proven his strength and willingness to
risk his life for the future of a more peaceful Uganda. In August 2006
Mao led a group of community leaders to the rebel hideout in Garamba,
Congo, to meet LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony. He was one of the 10
accredited observers to the Uganda Peace Talks in Juba that were being
mediated by the Government of Southern Sudan.
In 1999 Norbert Mao co-founded the Great Lakes Parliamentary Forum on
Peace (Amani Forum) and also the Parliamentary Network on the World
Bank. These two parliamentary networks with which he still remains in
contact have greatly enhanced the contribution of parliamentarians in
conflict resolution and development. Since the time over 10 years ago
when he authored a minority report for the parliament calling for
peace talks with the LRA Mao has been a strong advocate for a peaceful
resolution of the conflict in Northern Uganda. He remains active as
Chairman Emeritus of Amani Forum.
Norbert Mao is well known for his superior advocacy efforts and
persuasive oratory skills and regularly speaks on these issues in high
level national and international gatherings including the World Bank
and the United Nations. He was a panelist on the popular radio talk
show The Capital Gang that aired on Kampala's Capital FM station as
well as a columnist for The New Vision newspaper in Uganda. His
writings have featured in the in The Yale Herald, the Strait Times of
Singapore, Yale Global, the Daily Times of Pakistan and The Monitor
among others. He is often featured and quoted in various national and
international media on issues of governance, peace, human rights and
DP President Norbert Mao is a charismatic leader with an unbeatable
record of successfully delivering on his political promise and he is
ready for a new beginning for Uganda.
His committment to leadership with integrity was born from humble
roots. His father was a soldier who went back to school to study
cereal chemistry upon leaving the army. Mao's family background
instilled in him deeply rooted values and a strong work ethic.
Norbert Mao and his wife Naomi have two children, Nicholas and Nathan.
They live in Kampala and Gulu.
It’s Time. Time for a New Beginning. A New Leader for Change. Time
for Norbert Mao.
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