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How to be… Norbert Mao


He has a way with words: To be like Mao, you must be articulate, and not just speak, but intelligently, writes Ian Ford Nkera

Democratic Party (DP) president Norbert Mao is simply Tamale Mirundi with a better command of English. Period. Both of them have a knack for raising dust anywhere they set foot. They talk, walk and breathe controversy. You could comfortably call them the disciples of controversy because they look for it and follow it everywhere it goes.
Norbert Mao would be the guy in the bar who always has something bad to say about your shoes but because he came with the guy that is buying drinks, there is nothing much you can do but just stare on. Any word that makes its way out of Mao’s mouth has the potential to incite even the Pope into throwing a tantrum or two. He can be quite annoying depending on who is listening. If you are from the government, I will understand if you throw out your radio in protest when Mao is on the airwaves. He likes to speak his mind and has made it his job to throw every weakness and flaw of the government into the public eye. He has viciously spoken against graft in public service and the ‘everlasting’ stay of President Museveni. His recent move to throw his weight behind Amama Mbabazi ( a former ally of Museveni) in The Democratic Alliance(TDA) flag bearer’s nomination seems to have surprised many. If you want to be like Mao, here is your guide:

Smart and articulate
Whether you like him or not, Mao actually knows his stuff. His arguments always carry weight and as much as Mao could be accused of being many things, he is certainly not stupid. The former Makerere University guild president is a good orator who will debate any issue with reason. If you want to be like Norbert Mao, try something new like thinking with your brain. People unfortunately think with their knees these days so whatever you do, always back up your arguments. To be like Mao, speak confidently and authoritatively. If you are over 30 years old and you think public speaking is the devil itself, trust me that we have seen worse. Grab that mic and speak at your three year old’s birthday party with all the confidence. That should get you started on your journey to becoming Mao.

Be very brave
With Mao, you will struggle to tell if he is being brave or reckless. Let’s just assume that he is a brave man because you need balls of steel to do the kind of job he does. Dude is always taunting the government that you are tempted to tell him to stop. The likes of Andrew Mwenda, Theodore Ssekikubo and Barnabas Tinkasiimire cooled down but not Mao. Dude will rally on without any trace of fear. If you want to be like Mao, be the defaulting tenant who can go to his landlord’s house and tells him to turn down the volume of his TV because it’s making noise for him. Your landlord might just love you more. If you want to be as brave as Mao, just make sure you always have your lawyers close by.

Clash with everyone
Norbert Mao is a wrecking ball. Stand in his way and you will be history. He is guaranteed an enemy everytime he speaks because this whole making friends thing is too mainstream. Just ask Erias Lukwago and many other Democratic Party members who will admit that he is not “easy”. If you are going to be like Mao, be the chef who will clash with anything from other chefs to the saucepans. Do anything to get your point across even if it means stepping on a few toes. If you want to be like Mao and you have never clashed with anyone, your time is now. If you stay in a muzigo somewhere in Kirinya, your internship starts there. Do something as naughty as stealing a neighbour’s basin. That should get you started.

Sleep with the enemy?
Norbert Mao recently backed Amama Mbabazi ahead of the presidential polls in 2016. For a man who has always been critical of the government, it was surprising to see him get comfortable with a man who has never outrightly denounced the NRM. It’s as if he is in bed with the enemy. If you want to be like Mao, you must start to realise that the bridges should never be entirely burned. It’s now okay to think that the ‘ka’ girl you chased away for cheating might not be that bad after all. Invite her for coffee and start over. If she strays again, don’t let it bother you. Forgive her again. So feel comfortable and be like. Mao.

This is a humour column and the views expressed henceforth may not neccesarily be an objective assessment of the individual.

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