Gen Gregory Mugisha Muntu has this afternoon handed over the office of the president of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) but also used the occasion to give the strongest indication that he may part ways with the party.
Muntu, one of the co-founders of FDC was beaten to the job by Patrick Oboi Amuriat (POA) at a party’s delegates’ conference held at Namboole last week.
“Every step where there are issues that need to be discussed, I will talk to you [Oboi]; my hope is that we can all move in the same direction,” Muntu said at Najjankumbi.
Adding that even if a time comes and they separate that decision will have been carefully studied and agreed.
“We have decided not to make any decision we want to make sure that whoever makes that decision is absolutely sure that that is the right decision that has been made,” Muntu said.
Immediately conceding defeat at Namboole last week, Muntu went on to announce that he was to make personal decisions and would make some announcements this week. At a press conference held at Hotel Africana this week week, Muntu said he was to stay in the party but there are issues that needed to be resolved through countrywide consultations within and outside the FDC structures.
Today, Muntu said he was handing over a party that was intact; that tolerated divergent view.
“It is my pleasure to handle over peacefully to honourable Amuriat a party that is intact in spite of all the contestation we have had in the last five years,” Muntu said.
He added that Amuriat should strive to have a party that is tolerant to divergent opinions because it is impossible to have similarity in thinking. The former army commander said the country is headed for tough times as forces of change continue to rock the political boat of the ruling party, NRM.
He said as agents of change, their main focus is to capture power, and use it to transform the lives of Ugandans, adding that whether he continues working with FDC or he separates from them, this shouldn’t stop them from working together to achieve the two objectives.
“We had a peaceful election on the [November] 24 and Amuriat was the victor. I will be telling you a lie, if I told you that there are no fundamental issues to deal with. As I understand, the delegates legitimately said this party can take power using one means but we have to investigate that in-depth whether there is anything that went wrong,” Muntu said.
He added that for the country to get peace and heal, there was need for reconciliation within the party. Muntu said those calling him an NRM ‘mole’ will be proved wrong with time. Muntu further warned Amuriat to be wary of those he is going to be working with.
“You are entering a very tough environment; I will genuinely give you advice, if I disagree with you, I will tell you in your face. I will still work with you because of the objective is the same; be careful of the people you are going to work with; be firm,” Muntu said.
On his part, Amuriat said he was humbled to have been elected party president.
“A few months ago it would have been difficult that this little-known person, the villager from Kumi, would stand on this podium to take the oath of the president of FDC,” Amuriat said.
The former three-time Kumi county MP repeated his call to Muntu not to think about quitting the party for the strength of FDC is in working together.
“This party is going to remain intact with the new leadership. We believe you are an asset to us therefore I would pray that after the dust has settled, we can speak without raising our voices and it will be time to speak honestly to each other,” Amuriat said.
“I would like to tell my competitors to recall what they said that they will respect the outcome of the elections; Ugandans are watching us,” Amuriat said.
He added unlike the NRM party where some positions are ring fenced, in the FDC each position is competed for and the winner takes the day.
“I hope Gen Muntu and those who may appear aggrieved will have a listening ear with the party,” Amuriat said.
Before Amuriat was sworn in, Francis Mwijukye and Habib Buwembo were also sworn in as the deputy treasury general for fundraising and secretary for labor and pension respectively.
The function was graced by several members of parliament, including the Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, the lord mayor of Kampala among others. However the leader of opposition Winnie Kiiza and the chief whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda were conspicuously absent.