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MUNTU: Why is FDC panicking?

 

FILE PHOTO: Muntu (left) and Bobi Wine meet at recent event in Tororo

Kampala, Uganda | AGATHER ATUHAIRE | Is Uganda’s main opposition party; the Forum for Democratic (FDC) worried over the recent departure of its former president, Gen. Mugisha Muntu to form a new political formation?

Some analysts say FDC has every reason to be worried. They estimate that Muntu might have departed with over 70% of its members; among them the majority youth and prominent leaders.

Muntu’s departure comes on the heels of his completion of nationwide collection of the views of the FDC rank and file on the future of the party. At the centre of the so-called consultation was one question: Should I, Muntu, stay or quit FDC.

According to Muntu’s own report, which he submitted to the FDC leaders on the same day he announced he was quitting; the majority of FDC supporters told him not to quit.

“Fight for a place from within,” they reportedly told him. Others wanted him to remain in the party and devise ways of resolving the problems facing the party.

Sources say Muntu considered the option of urging the party leadership to devise mechanisms of resolving these issues but he eventually went with those who wanted a split.

“We honestly do not want to spend another day in rope-pulling,” said a source after the meeting of Muntu and his team on Sept 13, “We have wasted enough time yet the country is yearning for change.”

He was possibly referring to a wave of anti-establishment sentiments that has seen the ruling NRM party lose several key parliamentary by-elections, forcing President Museveni to deploy military force against a surging opposition led by youthful political debutante, musician, and Kyadondo East MP Robert Sentamu aka Bobi Wine.

But Muntu had also had enough.

“As someone who lived through that kind of internal friction first hand during my five-year tenure as President, I can authoritatively say it is of no use to anyone. It neither advances the party nor benefits any of the warring groups. All it does is distract the entire opposition into spending our energy on internal power struggles that only benefit those in government,” he said.

Muntu’s procrastination, many say, could have been caused by the attempts by his nemesis and FDC stalwart Kizza Besigye.  The Independent could not confirm that Besigye himself reached out to Muntu.  But FDC party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat aka POA urged Muntu’s supporters on the party’s whatsapp platform to be open to reconciliation.

“Friends, where is the bitterness coming from?” Amuriat asked on Aug.22 as the clamour for Besigye to quit grew, “Can’t we do something to reconcile any differences we may have?”

Muntu’s supporters on the platform were skeptical.

They said Amuriat was being dishonest to pretend that he was just awakening to the need for reconciliation. Some were peeved that he suggested talking about the party’s issues “over a cup of tea”. They felt Amuriat was trivialising the issues. But Amuriat defended his tea talk.

“Comrades my thinking on proposing a meeting over drink is that we can break the ice by engaging even informally to no detriment.” Amuriat explained. “An elders committee will be set up very soon to commence the process of reconciliation.”

Muntu’s supporters were unmoved.

“I don’t take these calls seriously,” said one of the members. “While POA keeps talking about reconciliation, he doesn’t stress the need for working together.”

Others said his actions and those of other leaders did not reflect genuine commitment. Muntu quit anyway.

Muntu support 

It is now not clear if his move will be supported at the grassroots. There is no evidence yet of the support Muntu commands. But analysts point at the law, which makes it risky for an MP to publicly declare membership of a political organisation other than that on whose ticket they are in parliament for the reluctance of MPs to endorse him. Any breach of this condition could trigger a bi-election. And no MP wants that.

Article 83 (g) of the constitution provides that MPs who cross from the parties on whose tickets they were elected to Parliament will lose their seats and go back to ask the voters to vote them on the ticket of the new party they are joining. This applies to the Independents too.  There are also reports that Muntu has advised his supporters in elected positions not to resign.

“It is an act in futility that doesn’t advance either my interests or theirs,” he reportedly said.

Anecdotally, however, the analysts claim Muntu could have over 30 MPs in Parliament. They point out that during the internal FDC presidential race in November 2017, over 20 MPs out of FDC’s 36 supported Muntu. Then they point at possible support of some Independents including Ntungamo Municipality MP Gerald Karuhanga, newly elected Arua Municipality MP Kassiano Wadri, and youth MP national Ann Adeke Ebaju.

Sources say Muntu has also won the hearts of some NRM MPs who unhappy with their stay in the NRM, were not keen on FDC, but lacked an alternative. Many point at the results of the 2016 presidential elections in which only 66% of voters turned out and President Yoweri Museveni won 61% of those and FDC got 35%. Museveni’s opponents argue that Museveni was elected by only 40% of the electorate and the 60% shunned him. But the 33% voters did not vote for the opposition candidate, FDC’s Kizza Besigye, either. Muntu’s supporters believe he, as a moderate, has a higher appeal than Besigye across the board.

Two NRM MPs; Manjiya County’s John Baptist Nambeshe, and Mbwa Tekamwa Gaffa of Kasambya, are mentioned. In reality, the speculation is built on thin sand – the MPs’ appearance at the press conference where Muntu announced his departure from FDC and way forward.

Apart from the MPs, other big wigs in the party are said to have left with Muntu.

These include; the party’s Vice President for Eastern region and former secretary General Alice Alaso, former FDC electoral commission boss Dan Mugarura, the chairman youth league Iddi Ouma, Deputy secretary for the Presidency and elder; Sewava Serubiri, Rajab Kaaya, chairperson youth Western, Ismael Kasule; chairperson women’s league Central, Hamida Nassimbwa, Kakayi Zelda, Mary Frances Kabatereine, Nasasira Happy, Phiona Busingye. Others are Ibbi Florence, Abola Jane, Mary frances Kabateraine, Pastor Sandra Ngabo and more.

10 comments

  1. Dear Ugandans, Come what may, Mugisha Muntu poses no threat to the establishment. He is neither a politician nor a strategist. He is just a bemused diplomat who in his self-centred modal deceit, feels his next position is to become a President of this country Uganda. Note however that, he was FDC President for two full terms but he actually failed and or did not even attempt and or just touch his so-called grass-roots mobilization/ drive for membership for FDC. To then claim that he will do it in his “New Formation Arrangement” could just be as good as day-dreaming gesture and or self-internal appraisal to say the least.

    Well, Ugandans are still here and they will tell, but the truth is MM is here to ensure his colleague M7 rules for ever with “a scattered-opposition.”

    Eric Jumaa

  2. ejakait engoraton

    #10 ejakait engoraton 2018-10-03 17:07
    AS humans we have this element that as far as human or personal development is concerned, things should stay the same.

    Thus we tend to think in the “school mentality” that if you are a class above someone, you will always be above them.

    THIS for a very long time is what is disturbing many UGANDANS vis a vis the RWANDESE situation where they think that because many of the ruling elite were merely refugees, they still view them in that context. This then extends to the individual level.

    Enter MUGISHA MUNTU who has never overcome the fact that the person who was his junior at Basiima House and later as overall commander a one PAUL KAGAME is now a president while he is left scrapping for goodness knows what.

    MM is forever left ruing how things would have turned out if he was not the army commander at the time of the exodus.

    And that is what informs the majority of his actions

  3. ejakait engoraton

    AS humans we have this element that as far as human or personal development is concerned, things should stay the same.

    Thus we tend to think in the “school mentality” that if you are a class above someone, you will always be above them.

    THIS for a very long time is what is disturbing many UGANDANS vis a vis the RWANDESE situation where they think that because many of the ruling elite were merely refugees, they still view them in that context. This then extends to the individual level.

    Enter MUGISHA MUNTU who has never overcome the fact that the person who was his junior at Basiima House and later as overall commander a one PAUL KAGAME is now a president while he is left scrapping for goodness knows what.

    MM is forever left ruing how things would have turned out if he was not the army commander at the time of the exodus.

    And that is what informs the majority of his actions

  4. ejakait engoraton

    What does it mean being in the opposition in Uganda?

    “It is not safe because the government doesn’t like opposition. They harass the opposition; [they] deny them jobs, they persecute them and sometimes kill them. They hate you for nothing, just because you don’t like the bad things they are doing. They are selfish, they are greedy, they steal government property, they grab land and misuse government money.”

    These are the words of the late Boniface Byanyima. So this is the situation pertaining in Uganda today, so tell me how do you build so called grassroots structures most especially as it states at the grassroots in the villages without all the things mentioned by Mzee Byanyima happening to you.

    And MM is talking about building grassroots structures.

    Very DIVERSIONARY if not outright SABOTAGE with a view to leading people to their death

  5. MM has a tough ride ahead of him he says he will build grassroots structures,let us wait and see how he gets to the villages and sub counties with our PISOs and GISOs waiting for him,then he talks of building an alliance of parties/political leaders ,will he be willing to let MAO or ABED be president ? or how will he work with Bobi wine whose only strategy is seems to be defiance?Then when disagreements on strategy eventually arises as it is bound to happen within the new formation will he again quit to form another new new formation.
    Poor MM,never a leader of men was shielded by a very strong and capable commander in chief when he was army commander and once out of the institution of the army he has been terribly exposed.

  6. The article forgets to mention the big cracks brought by the TDA greed and eventual refusal by KB to vacate FDC leadership. Why for God’s sake does KB still give press conferences at the expense of the party leadership. It looks like the timing by POA to change the LOP backfired. Can anyone really align to the notion that POA is politically stronger than MM?

  7. ejakait engoraton

    THAT MM left FDC was a question of WHEN rather than IF once he lost the election to AMURIAT.

    To me the signal, despite all the circuitous route of the so called consultations, was when his “trumpeter in chief” MUNIINI announced that he was quitting politics- read FDC.

    TO me MM is a serial defector/traitor who has no loyalty to a person or cause for that matter.

    MM is the son of a man who was best friends with OBOTE, with whom he lived in exile in Tanzania and who OBOTEs sons will tell you was one of the few people they knew as “uncle” when they were in exile.

    IN any normal situation, you only quarrel/fight let alone pick up.arms against someone when you have exhausted all other avenues, as was the case with ANC in South Africa or MAU MAU in Kenya. Or if you are mad as was the case in Uganda with the NRM and KONY.

    As a person he considered his own father, did MM talk to OBOTE before joining an armed struggle to know what was exactly going on.

  8. ejakait engoraton

    AND conveniently after finishing his studies at Makerere. If he felt so strongly why not before. And if he is a principled man as it is made out, what abuses – rigging of elections, abuse of human rights etc- that took place during Obotes time are not taking place at an even worse magnitude , so why does he not take up arms as he did then, let alone advocate for militancy against the regime.

    AND he wonders why he was being suspected as a mole in the bush. MM at the time was the biggest “catch” for M7 who believes in “humiliating” his opponents, real and imagined by having sons/daughters/spouses etc on his side as he is doing by having TITO Okellos son, Ben Kiwanukas son serving at his pleasure, just like having his son marry the daughter of the man who humiliated him in the 80 election.

    Likewise MM being appointed army commander had nothing to with his qualification experience in the army as I am sure even the likes of KASIRYE, KORETA etc had better credentials

  9. ejakait engoraton

    IT was more to do with M 7s known style of doing things where he wanted somebody who was a nobody so that he would owe total allegiance as MM eventually did.

    MM had no friends especially in the army, and he himself has adduced , he was suspected by his friends.

    This was a good trait for M 7 because he was the least likely to master the means to mount a coup, unlike the likes of say TINYEFUZA , KYALIGONZA etc.

    SO whatever MM is , he is the making of M 7 , he would not be what he is if it was not for M 7 , the reason M 7 sees him as a non threat politically and militarily.

    Also, while other opposition leaders have suffered the wrath for as much as passing wind, some even to the extent of losing relatives , MM has almost received protection and his brother, HERBERT NUWAGABA is a staunch NRM who is a political appointee.

    SO , you can not blame those who think that he is a mole .

  10. ejakait engoraton

    And what a stupid reason to give, that you are being called a mole.
    No politician worth their name has not been called names, and to be in politics you have got to have a thick skin. People will say all sorts of things about you for all sorts of reasons and that is why Tony Blair was nicknamed “Teflon Tony” because according to the press, whatever they threw at him he was able to shake off and it never stuck.
    And the Ganda aptly say ” omwogeziyogezi takusuzisa kayanzi ko” meaning that do not listen to public opinion where it hurts your interests.

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