Muntu: I last met Museveni in 2004
“If I was a mole, I would have remained there and destabilise the FDC [but] I have given them an opportunity to build the party without any external interference,” said Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu as he responded to questions from the press.
Talk of Muntu being a mole first came up last year during the FDC presidential elections that Muntu lost to Patrick Amuriat Oboi.
Angered by the “mole” talk, Muntu set out on a journey that culminated into his leaving the party.
” In fact I have never met President Museveni, the last time I met with him one-on-one was in 2004 after the PAFO (Parliamentary Advocacy Forum) in Mbale,” Muntu told journalists.
The Hotel Africana press conference was called for Muntu to explain his reasons for quitting FDC and also explain his next course of action.
Following his shock Tuesday afternoon announcement, many political pundits wondered whether the former army commander had done enough home work, and many feared that he could end up walking alone out of the FDC.
Except for some 26 FDC MPs who are rumoured to be preparing to a walk of the party come January 2020 in accordance to Article 83(2)(a) which allows MPs to switch sides within the last year of a term of Parliament, Muntu appears to be enjoying the support of other party leaders.
A number of FDC politicians notable among them are MPs Winnie Kiiza (Kasese Woman), Paul Mwiru (Jinja Municipality East), Elijah Okupa (Kasilo), Herbert Ariko (Soroti Municipality), Angeline Osegge (Soroti Woman), Simon Oyet (Nwoya), Gerald Karuhanga (Independent, Ntungamo Municipality) and Anna Adeke Ebaju (National Female Youth).
There were also two NRM MPs Mbwatekamwa Gaffa (Kasambya) and John Baptist Nambeshe (Manjiya).
FDC’s Martin Ojara Mapenduzi (Gulu LC 5 chairman) and the Party’s deputy president (Eastern) Alice Alaso, former FDC electoral commission chairman Dan Mugarura also attended.
Speaking to journalists, Mbwatekamwa prophesied that what has happened to FDC with Muntu’s departure may happen to the ruling NRM because of what he termed as monopoly of opinion.
“I have a feeling that what has happened to Muntu in FDC is what is happening to us. NRM chairperson and all other party leaders don’t want to listen to us. Whenever we try to correct them, to express our grievances, they think that we mean nothing. So, I know that what has happened to FDC if my mighty party NRM does not clean its house soon, we shall see many people defecting to other parties,” said Mbwatekamwa.
On his part, Karuhanga described Muntu’s pressure group; the New Formation, as the real progressive force.
“I want to believe it’s more of a new formation than a split. Here we are looking at more than a separation in the FDC, but a new formation that is all inclusive, that seeks to work with other forces, that seeks to work with other dissenting voices,” said Karuhanga.
Although he is still an FDC member, Nwoya MP Simon Oyet said he is ready to support the New Formation.
“I believe in the policy of the Forum for Democratic Change which I subscribe to. I also believe in the methods of Gen Muntu because this is about organization, planning and then getting the population with us. The two camps believe in democratic process, believe in working together in order to remove President Museveni from power.” said Oyet
Godber Tumushabe, the Associate Director of Great Lakes Institute of Strategic Studies (GLISS), said the difference in ideology in FDC was irreconcilable which necessitated a split.
“I don’t actually agree with the idea that FDC will be no more; the FDC, if we can call it FDC main, has very credible leaders, it has structure across the country. I think that the departure of Gen Muntu and the people who believe in his philosophy gives the FDC an opportunity to concentrate on building and expanding its party base and support. I only would say, probably the leadership of FDC takes Muntu’s call and say, we are not enemies. We have a shared agenda, a shared cause, we should focus on that. We should not focus on fighting each other,” Tumushabe said.