By Mubatsi Asinja Habati
In February 2009, Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu attempted to unseat the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) President Kizza Besigye during the party’s Delegates Conference at Namboole Stadium in Kampala. He failed.
On Jan. 21 he launched his campaign to woo FDC members to vote him instead of Besigye as presidential candidate in the 2011 general elections.
Â Muntu launched his campaign manifesto among the youth, who described Muntu as young, energetic were the majority at the launch. Among those who attended the launch rally at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel were youth leaders from the Democratic Party and the Uganda Peoples Congress.
There were some elders, including former East African Community secretary general and FDC vice-chairman Amanya Mushega, Maj. John Kazoora, opposition chief whip Kassiano Wadri and a number of MPs. The 300-seater main hall was full.
Muntu, in his speech, praised Besigye’s charisma and resilience in fighting the repressive NRM government and his wise leadership and commitment to the opposition party. He, however, pointed out it was time for the party to change leadership.
He (Besigye) and his family have endured harassment and persecution. We applaud him and we shall forever remain indebted to him both as a party and the country, he said, adding that: We should not fear change; change is inevitable.
What has stopped us from meeting these challenges is not the absence of sound policies but rather a failure of the regime under Yoweri Museveni as president, Muntu said.
Gen. Muntu, who was Uganda’s army commander for nine years from 1989 to 1998 like Besigye fought in the bush war that brought President Museveni to power in 1986.
In his manifesto, Muntu promises to fight corruption, poverty, recover the dying healthcare system and foster improved use of public funds.
Muntu and Besigye have three months to campaign among the party supporters where their fate will be determined in the April delegates conference.