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Battle for FDC presidency

Gen. Mugisha Muntu cheered by his supporters after being nominated. INDEPENDENT/ JIMMY SIYA

Muntu’s defense

Muntu also counters Amuriat on allegation that he “failed Besigye’s move to claim their victory”. He said instead, the activities failed because the masses did not back it.

“We called for activities to make government respond to our demands they didn’t participate in them. I was at the Headquarters on the 5th of May for the activities we had planned but they never showed up. We called for a stay home and people refused and went on with their businesses.

“That’s what we should be asking ourselves. Why don’t we ask ourselves why people didn’t respond positively to claim their victory and address that instead of engaging in blame game?”

On the lack of financing, defections, reduction in the number of MPs, he says they are interlinked with the strife they have generated in the party.

Muntu says: “A party which is ever in conflicts cannot attract financing. Who is going to fund the party that is going up in smoke? Why do you think I let them walk all over me? Why do you think I keep quiet even when I am provoked to unimaginable levels? That’s what leading by example means. I want to keep the party together, I want to minimize conflict. I want to brand the party to be able to attract financing and membership.”

He cites the recent attempt to impeach. He says when youth started to collect signatures, he summoned the party administrative organ; the National executive Council (NEC) and told them not to interfere with the impeachment exercise.

He says: “I said that no one should retaliate because if we had retaliated, there wouldn’t be FDC now. The impeachment process died a natural death. Some of those boys have come to me and told me they had been sent to do that. The same people that sent them are the ones accusing me of failing to unite the party!”

Muntu says his approach is to lead by example.

I have participated in party elections several times,” he says, “I have lost most of those times but I don’t start conflicts. I lose I go behind the person that has defeated me. I don’t form parallel structures. I don’t form other parties.”

“They fight me I don’t fight back. I create space for them to operate,” he says “For instance, I didn’t support Nandala in the race for Secretary General and openly, but when he won, I respected the people’s choice and created space for us to work together.”

Muntu also defends his two-way strategy.

“I have built the political culture not just the physical infrastructure aspect,” he says, “If we continue preparing ourselves, we will gain the momentum that enables even the flag bearer to win. That is the only method I am convinced about. But I haven’t stopped anyone from exploring other methods.”

“The problem isn’t having two strategies,” he told The Independent, “The two aren’t in conflict and I have said that so many times but they don’t want to understand it. I have told them to engage in defiance while I engage in organisation.

“If defiance takes power, you need an organisation to manage it, if defiance fails, you need an organisation that will participate in politics. The two are not mutually exclusive.”

Former leader of the opposition in parliament and FDC stalwart, Wafula Oguttu, agrees with Muntu on this.

“The party strategy I know that was discussed and agreed upon by NEC in 2016 is one struggle; two fronts that is; covert and overt organisation for action through defiance to crack and weaken the regime, organisation through setting up overt party structures to hold meetings, prepare for periodic  elections. The convergence of the two fronts is coordination in removing the regime,” he posted on the WhatsApp group page.

On members’ defections to NRM, Muntu says he has no power to stop people from leaving.

“Why didn’t Nandala stop his campaign manager Kisoro from defecting? Where is his chairman in Sironko? Where is Paul Mugoya? Where is Rubaramira Ruranga? All those participated in Nandala’s campaign,” he says.



  1. “We need a different approach,” he says, “Having two strategies under one party is disaggregating efforts. If he prefers to refer to organization as a strategy he is missing the point. We are asking organize for what? You can’t organize for elections because we know what happens in elections. We think as a party we should have one strategy and the strategy that is effective is defiance. It is what has kept Museveni on the tenterhooks.”
    A person with such a mentality shouldn’t be anywhere near an “organisation”, later on a political party, later on seeking to head one.
    Having said that, the conflict between Besigye and Muntu seems not to go away. And it seems that it is mainly a creation of the media. Why? Muntu joined the party much later than Besigye. At the time Muntu joined the party, Besigye was already at the helm. Irrespective of that, Muntu joined the party. Muntu and Besigye have faced off twice in hotly contested elections of the party but never have they come even close to exchanging personal insults. Besigye it could be said, won on both occasions and that’s the reason as to why there was no animosity. But Besigye, in 2012, peacefully resigned from his party position- with no clear personal choice. Muntu won that election and he has been party president for the last 5yrs. I pray that the party faithful elect him for the 2nd and last term. It is only then that fairness will prevail. But I pose this question: Where in the world and when in history, has a leader/leadership ever been devoid of opposition/ saboteurs/ naysayers? God had Satan, Moses had Pharaoh, Jesus had the Pharisees, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) had the Mur-tadins of Mecca, Museveni had Lwakwena, Itogwa, Kony, Besigye, Muntu etec.. What does a strong and charismatic leader do? He suppresses the opposition- real and imaginary. Muntu’s leadership mentality of “total consensus” could be his Achilles heel. He fancies to be liked/loved by everyone. Leadership doesn’t work that way. Any leadership has to have objectives and one needs to be assertive to achieve those objectives. A long the way to achieving those goals, there will be lazy individuals, ignorant ones about the set ideas, others will be simply rigid to change and others opposed to the method of work. As a leader, you should be able to make everyone work towards the set objectives and a good leader should also be appreciated at the end even by those who didn’t believe in them at first. A Muntu win allows for continuity and stabilisation of the party. It is only his mentality for a clean and soft kind of leadership that will kill the party. I have leant one thing not just in politics but also in life, there is nothing like “purity.” That’s why there is God whom we always ask for forgiveness. Muntu can only act like one.

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