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Mugisha Muntu on a new political formation in Uganda

Mugisha Muntu on a new political formation in Uganda

Fellow Ugandans,


Two days ago, several FDC members and I announced our decision to leave the party. This decision was reached after an extensive consultation process that saw us interact with citizens from across all sub-regions of the country. While the reasons for our departure have been covered extensively in yesterday’s Daily Monitor, allow me to restate them in brief today.


Firstly, our consultations revealed that the party was severely divided between those who felt that  the strategy should be defiance only and those who thought it was best to concentrate on party structural development as a way to enable both consequential civil disobedience and our capacity to compete favourably in elections at all levels. We feel that the only practical way to resolve this tension, is for those whose view was voted for by the majority of party delegates to be allowed the space to carry out their agenda unimpeded.


This necessarily means that those of us that are not comfortable with this agenda are faced with two options. We can either keep within the party and shut up about our alternative strategies, or leave the party and work with them from the outside to achieve common objectives using different strategies. Some people have suggested that there is a third option of staying in the party and pushing our agenda from the inside. I cannot be party to such underhand methods.


 As someone who lived through that kind of situation first hand during my 5-year tenure as president, I can authoritatively say they are of no use to anyone. They neither advance the party nor benefit any of the warring groups. All such activities achieve, is to distract the entire opposition into spending our energy on internal power struggles that only benefit those in government.


Therefore, our departure is in good faith. We believe that this action is mutually beneficial to both the FDC and those of us leaving. In fact, if handled well, this could be the beginning of greater cooperation within the opposition. Instead of fighting each other over strategy, our departure will allow the current party leadership to pursue its agenda unencumbered while we also pursue the same objectives in ways we feel better reflect our values. At the end of the day, we are all working towards the same goal.


What Next?


Moving forward, we would like to do the following:

1. An amicable departure from FDC


Ensure that our departure is as smooth as possible. Both during our consultations and consequent meetings with the FDC party leadership, we have reiterated our desire to part ways amicably. While the issues that instigated our departure are real, our commitment to a united opposition is even more real. I have discussed with Hon. Patrick Amuriat the possibility of setting up a joint team to keep dialogue open and will continue to try as much as possible to ensure that there is an open-door policy between us and the FDC.


2. Institute a New Formation


Over the next few weeks, we are going to embark on a participatory process of defining what this new formation stands for ideologically, our core values and our policy positions on various issues. We shall do this through public engagement, engaging sector experts and ordinary Ugandans in defining the kind of new formation they want. We recognise that since independence, party formation has mostly been about reacting to something or someone. We have had political parties formed along faith lines, ethnic lines and even individuals. This new formation is going to be the first time that a political party is formed as a result of the combination of nationwide consultations, deep ideological reflection and clear policy positions. 

Our hope is that we will build an inclusive, forward looking and ideologically defined party. Ugandans are hungry for change. It is time to start being that change.


3. Mobilisation of the People


We have always believed in building grassroots networks as a critical prerequisite for effective political mobilisation. Today, we would like to start building towards that by calling upon all like-thinking Ugandans to join us. We have developed a website specifically for the purpose of connecting with you. To join us, please visit the website and leave us your contact details as well as your preferred area of contribution to the party. We will use this information to contact you about opportunities to be a part of the new formation. The volunteers that sign up via the website will be the critical link we need to reach those who may not be able to register or access the internet. 


 At this point, it is important to be clear about our vision for the future. We believe that no single party, acting on its own, can rescue our country from the dangerous path we currently tread. We seek neither to undermine other opposition parties nor engage in mudslinging. Uganda as it currently stands can easily plunge into anarchy. People have lost trust in the state.  Our health and education sectors are in chaos. There is rising insecurity, inequality and injustice. The political space in the country is shrinking by the day and so is the patience of most Ugandans. 


For us to de-escalate the mounting tensions, we must be willing to reach out beyond our parties, communities and faiths. We must be willing to recognise that One Uganda One People cannot be achieved without truth and justice. That peace, unity and transformation cannot happen without people’s power being our power. That when all is said and done, the bodaboda rider has as much claim to this country as the richest businessman. Those born in our ghettos are as much our children as those born in our most expensive hospitals. 


We all need to work for a country in which when our soldiers fight, they fight for us all, not a chosen few. When our police keep law and order, they do so as passionately for the opposition as they do for those in power. We must recognise that for each of us, the black, yellow and red stripes represent a place we call home. We are brothers and sisters, friends not enemies. Our new formation may use strategies that are different from other parties, but our goal will be the same: a Uganda that works for us all.

God bless you, and God bless our beloved nation


Maj. Gen. (rtd) Mugisha Muntu


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