Mugisha Muntu Takes On Boston & Promises FDC Will Win Once Party Structures Are In Place

Posted September 10, 2013 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Politics ~ 5,986 views


Boston Dispatch — On Sunday September 8th I was among the many Bostonians who showed up for Retired Major General Mugisha Muntu’s town hall meet at the Hilton Garden Inn in Waltham. I had first met and also interacted with the retired Major General in Dallas during the just concluded UNAA convention.

As a admirer of this foot soldier who did the unthinkable first by retiring from the Uganda Army – UPDF that many other Generals consider a cash cow, he however was discharged from the army with a stellar record.

As a replacement to retired Col. Besigye, his ascendancy to the FDC Presidency has not been without challenges. There have been some divisions and opposition within the party as some did not consider him a formidable leader of the Forum For Democratic Change [FDC] preferring instead the leader of opposition in Parliament Nandala Mafabi but again many of these concerns are currently before NEC the top decision making organ of the FDC party.

And so when I sat down to listen to him present his party agenda at the Hilton Garden Inn I came with an open mind to hear what Muntu was proposing to do different once his party assumed power. Boston is a known opposition stronghold in which the retired Col. Kizza Besigye has been known to enjoy strong support. The discussion was moderated by CBS FM’s Meddie Nsereko assisted by Pastor Samuel Mutyaba. The FDC Chairman in Boston Mr. Magandazi and Dr. Muniini from Canada were also present.

A soft spoken man with a somewhat calm demeanor the Major General took on a barrage of questions many of them tough. From his record while in UPDF to his personality that many felt lacked the ‘Ajja Genda’ defiant energy of his predecessor, some claimed he could not defeat Museveni when he has not been as active during such civil protests like the ‘WALK TO WORK’.

Others expressed sentiments that he Muntu could be a MOLE planted by the current regime while others felt it was indeed time for other regions to assume the Presidency. But one particular question that caught my attention was the composition of the electoral commission that has always been appointed by the President. This particular resident wanted to know what efforts the FDC was making to prevent this so called state funded rigging machinery full of NRM cadres presiding over the 2016 election.

Another resident was keen to know how the Major General felt about the recent Gen. Sejusa outburst and fall out with the regime and the ramifications for Uganda’s security while others seemed to suggest maybe another approach needed to be adopted in order to bring about regime change. The issue of high youth unemployment now that more than half of Uganda’s population was less than 15 years was assumed by some to be a time bomb that could lead to another Arab spring.

Many Baganda present wanted to know how genuine the President was in returning of the Buganda Kingdom assets and what FDC planned do differently to ensure that Buganda got Federo and is not supplied air by subsequent regimes.

Muntu listened intently to the the Boston crowd that pledged their support but had requested not to be photographed perhaps for fear of reprisals against family members back in Uganda by ISO & ESO operatives.

All in all Mugisha Muntu preached a somewhat different political message that advocated for the building of the grass root party structures from the bottom – up and also embarking on an aggressive fundraising drive that could energize the party similar to what Barack Obama did in 2008. He claimed the FDC annual budget was about 6 billion shillings but they needed partners to help their fundraising efforts and promised to revamp the FDC website to allow more donors the opportunity to make donations online.

He was quick to mention that there are many politicians on the fence who are just waiting for the balance of power to shift in favor of the opposition and then the regime would collapse. He however noted that though there were many avenues to remove President Museveni from power he did not advocate for the use of the ‘GUN’ as one of the options.

It was then that I asked the retired Major General how this would be achieved when his own party has been embroiled in a bitter leadership wrangles that stemmed from the last election. I also wanted to know how his party was copying with FDC party MPs that have been known to support government positions on controversial motions that forked out huge sums in tax payer money for schemes like the car loans for MPs at the expense of government projects urgently in need of these funds.

Muntu noted that defections do exists and that the NRM has also been known to lose supporters to the opposition. “Those critical to regime like the recently expelled NRM MPs are examples of individuals that have lost faith in the system”,  he noted. He also assured his audience that advocacy groups and donor agencies had been engaged regarding the composition of the electoral commission.

The NRM that has been in power for now close to 30 years has been known to win over the opposition using such schemes and many other heft emoluments. Muntu was quick to remind his audience that similar regimes like that of Mubarak, Qaddafi and Hitler did collapse when those opposed to dictatorship stood up.

With about two years to go to the next general election and President Museveni an astute politician with a rare ability to outmaneuver his political opponents, Mugisha Muntu a retired soldier who was a long serving Commander of the UPDF might be one of the opposition politicians to watch come 2016.

Compiled by Ronnie Mayanja

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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

One Comment

    Isaac Nsubuga

    This report is less of the fact that neither Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu nor Ugandans present at this dialogue had a clear picture of the form of transition they want to see happen in Uganda. As a quiet attendee in the same, I was horribly disappointed by the nature of questions which mainly focused on the person of Mugisha muntu at the expense of his party’s intended policy alternatives. It further occurred to me that FDC has no policy alternatives atleast from Gen. Muntu’s responses and If they do,may be the devil lies in details but he offered none. Generally, I find General Muntu’s strategy of civic education and establishment of party structures unrealistic for Ugandans who badly want change in 2016. It is certainly the right direction for FDC, but we should not be naive to think it is a 2 year process. We are talking about changing minds and this may take well more than 10 years before we start realizing returns from that particular strategy. Therefore, as far as I can tell, FDC is not ready for change in 2016 and it is time for a more issue based conversation instead of emotional and ill informed out bursts built on pillars of tribal and ethnic sentiments. The only reason Uganda will not change power in 2016 is because we lack a clearly envisioned opposition and populace. And I wonder where the so called country’s elites are in such times. Isaac Nsubuga

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