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After Muntu, who is loyal to FDC?

Gen Mugisha Muntu

Gen Mugisha Muntu left the FDC party

It is two weeks since former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leader, Maj Gen Gregory Mugisha Muntu and a faction of his supporters announced their exit from Uganda’s leading opposition party to form a new political formation. SULAIMAN KAKAIRE weighs in on what the future holds.

A few hours after Muntu announced his departure, Harold Kaija, the FDC deputy secretary general in charge of administration, told The Observer: “We have been swallowed…People Power has swallowed us.”

He changed this dark view a few days later, but his initial reaction spoke volumes. Whereas to Kaija the existential threat is seen as coming from “People Power,” a youth movement led by Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi a.k.a Bobi Wine, FDC must pay attention to the fall-out from Muntu’s departure.

On paper, if many members defect to the new formation, the once biggest opposition political party faces the disruptive prospect of organising mid-term internal elections. Based on a list seen by The Observer, it would appear that the walk-out, if it comes, will deprive FDC of countrywide leadership.

Already, about three quarters of the party’s MPs are known to be “secretly” thinking of joining the new formation by December, when it gets to be officially launched as a party, or a year to the general elections.

The impending doom can be traced back to FDC’s failure to resolve what are referred to as irreconcilable differences. These differences arise from its very origins. They include founding president Dr Kizza Besigye’s dominance over the party, and the undemocratic tendencies of some senior members.

During last year’s delegates’ conference which elected Patrick Oboi Amuriat to replace Muntu as party president, Besigye’s influence was plain to see. And so, according to the list, three out of the four regional deputy presidents of the party are leaving.

They are Ronald Reagan Okumu (Northern), Alice Alaso (Eastern) and Patrick Baguma (Western). Of the four deputy presidents, it is only Joyce Ssebugwawo (Buganda) who has stayed put.

Alaso, who is acting coordinator for the new formation, was FDC secretary general for almost a decade. She told The Observer, that their formation is taking shape apace.

“I have discussed the reasons for my departure from FDC, but what I can tell you is that we are doing well,” she said.

Baguma, who was once national vice chairperson for western, spoke about the need for a new direction.

“It is very costly. I have spent all my youth working for FDC but with what is happening in FDC we cannot get power. Some of my colleagues think that you can take power through violence…I wish them the best but my caution is that you can’t beat President Museveni at violence,” Baguma said.

“It is time to start the new formation whose main agenda looks beyond taking power; it is looking at how to manage power after taking it, and to change Uganda’s governance that looks beyond individuals.”

The regional deputy presidents are part of the National Executive’s working committee which acts as the party’s cabinet. According to article 22 of the FDC constitution, the working committee has 14 members: party president, four deputy presidents, secretary general, leader of opposition, treasurer general, secretary for legal affairs, secretary for information, secretary for mobilisation, secretary for the youth, secretary for security and secretary for women.

Six out of these 14 have either defected or intend to defect to Muntu’s group. Former leader of the opposition in parliament, Kasese woman MP Winfred Kiiza (secretary for women), Abedi Nasser Mudiobole (secretary for legal affairs) and Iddi Ouma (secretary for the youth) are also expected to leave.

YOUTH AND WOMEN LEAVE

Amuriat’s headache could get worse once the other affected party organs: National Youth League and the National Women’s committee also lose almost their entire top leadership.

Ouma and three of the four regional national youth vice chairpersons (Isima Kasule (West), Zeridah Kakayi (East) and Eric Chandiga (North) intend to defect. He said recently that his decision to leave FDC is born out of conviction and belief in the new formation.

“I believe that if we work with Gen Muntu, we can build a political party that is durable and creates an environment for the emergence of national leaders with discipline and integrity in governance,” Ouma said.

Ouma said “20 of the 25 members of the FDC Youth National Executive have expressed interest in joining the new formation”.

“The leadership of 80 out of the 120 districts is with us. We intend to call a national executive later this month during which we shall announce our position and it is then that you will tell who is telling lies,” he said.

In the case of the national women executive committee, four members: Winnie Kiiza (chairperson), Hamida Nassimbwa (central), Racheal Kalulu (eastern) and Prossy Naikoba (treasurer) are known to be on their way too.

IMPLICATIONS

So what are the possible implications for the party?  Aswa MP, Reagan Okumu (deputy president Northern), feels that these are significant developments.

“I am a founding leader of FDC and a national leader with followers. If I decide, expect that decision to impact some people,” Okumu said.

“I will be making my announcement very soon for purposes of guiding those who follow me. But, the bottom line is that those who are pushing us to the side must know that we are national leaders with a following.”

The secretary for Legal Affairs, Mudiobole, says FDC should prepare to organise fresh elections to elect new leaders. “We were voted into office in 2015 and our mandate is for five years. When we leave, the only option left is for the party to organise fresh national elections. However, if some people hang in, as the case may be, some activities will be frozen..,” he said.

FDC REACTION

For now, Dr Joseph Tindyebwa, the FDC deputy secretary general in charge of research and policy, said the implications have been weighed by the party. This is why they sanctioned an audit, he said.

“We are aware of the implications; that is why we have to weed out all those who are not in agreement with us,” Tindyebwa said, making reference to a letter written by secretary general Nathan Nandala-Mafabi requiring every member of the party to affirm their FDC membership within the next 14 days or be deemed to have left.

skakaire@observer.ug

Comments

+3 #1 naboma 2018-10-17 09:12
There you go again Kakaire the muntu spokesman. You say "Already, about three quarters of the party’s MPs are known to be “secretly” thinking of joining the new formation by December, when it gets to be officially launched as a party, or a year to the general elections."-so if the dissenters are on top of the game as you suggest why haven't they left yet-why wait for one year to elections-it means they still see FDC as a mechanism for their retention of power.

The okumu can say what they like but believe me they have less following. what you call besigye's dominance on party affairs is a strength not a weakness-it would be if he had dictatorial tendencies which he doesn't have, thank God.

Ugandans have kajanja with new parties, formations even go-forward was a wave. FDC is and will remain strong-watch the space!! As you can see people power is already fading only operating in Nairobi
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-3 #2 Edo 2018-10-17 12:02
FDC 's only problem is Beseigye. He should take a chill pill and sit these things out.

He cant keep doing the same things over and over expecting to win.

otherwise FDC is currently a shell house just
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-2 #3 Omuzira Ente 2018-10-17 12:52
The opposition needs to pick a leaf from President Museveni and why he has managed to be in power for 32years.

While he uses a carrot and stick. He values every single individual in his party. How will you lead uganda where there are no opposing voices?.

The strength of an Organisation lies in how its top leadership accommodates divergent views. If FDC President had no tribal sentiments he would have worked with Winnie Kiiza for sometime before replacing her with his tribes mate. we need to do what we preach, if NRM practices tribalism, people need to see a difference in parties before they get into power.

It was a mistake for Dr.Besigye to stick on being the FDC Presidential candidate after serving is Term. GOD does not reward selfish interests.

The opposition can mobilse people for development work but this is not the case in Africa. If FDC had good intentions for this country they would have put the 20million in hospitals other than telling MPs to return it to wolves.
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+6 #4 Stewart 2018-10-17 13:35
Muntu's actions is not worth loosing a sleep over at all, if you are not voted to lead do you have to exit and form a new party or work on the gaps in the party? that's the primitivity of the bush war, these fellows can even form a party for a village only.

Born and grew in UPC, joined bandits NRA / NRM, defected to Reform Agenda and FDC, and now in another party, if voted out if the new party's leadership he will form another party.
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+5 #5 Lakwena 2018-10-17 15:21
In other words, because Jesus did not drive the Romans into the sea, and he got nailed on the cross without a fight; he is the problem.

Jesus! what kind of morality do some Ugandans have?

Since 2001, while Dr. Besigye was being beaten and imprisoned left, right and center; Gen Muntu came from a safety distance; riding on Dr. besigye's misery (coattail); but now he is the darling of opportunists who now see Dr. Besigy as the problem.

What a betrayal!
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+3 #6 naboma 2018-10-17 19:36
Quoting Edo:
FDC 's only problem is Beseigye. He should take a chill pill and sit these things out.

He cant keep doing the same things over and over expecting to win.

otherwise FDC is currently a shell house just


Edo let me tell you neither muntu nor anyone else will be declared president if museveni is still around-besigye has indeed won twice but he has not been declared president.

Muntu incapacitated \fdc for the time he was president. Besigye is not president of FDC but his influence is understandable- mandela had and still has influence on ANC so is nyerere. Would you rather you forgot your dad's legacy when he is dead? Be realistic man!!

Besigye founded FDC and ruled it-left when he was popular and whats wrong with we members loving him for his charisma. In 2 years you will tell who will be around and influenctial between muntu and besigye-mark my words
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+1 #7 naboma 2018-10-17 19:36
Quoting Edo:
FDC 's only problem is Beseigye. He should take a chill pill and sit these things out.

He cant keep doing the same things over and over expecting to win.

otherwise FDC is currently a shell house just


Edo let me tell you neither muntu nor anyone else will be declared president if museveni is still around-besigye has indeed won twice but he has not been declared president.

Muntu incapacitated \fdc for the time he was president. Besigye is not president of FDC but his influence is understandable- mandela had and still has influence on ANC so is nyerere. Would you rather you forgot your dad's legacy when he is dead? Be realistic man!!

Besigye founded FDC and ruled it-left when he was popular and whats wrong with we members loving him for his charisma. In 2 years you will tell who will be around and influenctial between muntu and besigye-mark my words
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+3 #8 naboma 2018-10-17 19:40
Quoting Lakwena:
In other words, because Jesus did not drive the Romans into the sea, and he got nailed on the cross without a fight; he is the problem.

Jesus! what kind of morality do some Ugandans have?

Since 2001, while Dr. Besigye was being beaten and imprisoned left, right and center; Gen Muntu came from a safety distance; riding on Dr. besigye's misery (coattail); but now he is the darling of opportunists who now see Dr. Besigy as the problem.

What a betrayal!


Thank you very much Lakwena!! Besigye has sacrificed alot for us. Ugandans forget easily-they were excited with Mbabazi and we all know where and who he is now.

The excitement about muntu and bobi wine will also go and besigye will remain -why? he has been true and consistent to the cause of liberating Uganda and sacrificed all.
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0 #9 Robert Atuhairwe 2018-10-17 20:58
Smart defiance!
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0 #10 Rajab Kakyama 2018-10-18 08:30
If what Kakaire is speculating is anything to go by, then, the FDC leadership is simply "shifting" into a "new formation."

This means that while they're "shifting" they take with them all the intolerance and radicalism that they have been presiding over when they were in FDC.

For an historian for which I am, it reminds me of the Bourbons "old wine in new bottles" call it new formation. Call it what you want.
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