Former Uganda People’s Defence Forces army commander Mugisha Gregory Muntu has today been elected as the new Forum for Democratic Change President.
Muntu beat his two opponents Nandala Mafabi and Geoffrey Ekanya after he won with 393 votes, Nandala who came second got 361 and Ekanya came third with 17 votes only.
The voting exercise took place at Namboole stadium where the party delegates from across the country had converged to elect a new party President.
This result will not come as a surprise to many political observers who had predicted a two horse race between the leader of opposition in Parliament Nandala Mafabi and Mugisha Muntu.
Muntu replaces Rtd Colonel Kiiza Besigye who however promised to continue with the struggle to liberate Uganda.
In a bid to democratize the party out going leader Col. Kizza Besigye decided to step aside to allow democracy to prevail which compelled Nandala Mafabi, Gen. Mugisha Muntu and Geofrey Ekanya to step up and canvass support for the party’s top job.
For three months the candidates have been traversing the country soliciting votes. Mudslinging, name calling, bribery accusations, and tribal sentiments have so far dominated the campaigns.
This resulted into fear that FDC could split but the party president Besigye reacted to that issue saying, “Those are election issues and no one among the candidates had petitioned over that. In an election one must use all resources in the store to win.”
On Monday while appearing on the same podium to tell the world why they chose to step up for the job, the three candidates debated on corruption, the economy, DRC crisis and war in Somalia.
In his submission Muntu bluntly said that the people need to know the type of the leader they would vote whether he is in position to deliver. He also added that ‘politicians lie alot’ because of the need to have the slot, hence one can be forced to promise heaven. “Don’t go by the words go by the actions, everyone can lie to achieve his selfish interests,” Muntu said.
Its by his statements that the ‘wise voter’ can pick analyze who will break the party or build without necessary voting a friend, rich man, gentle man, even voting ‘titles’ but vote an individual who will polish Besigye’s aftermath to be able to uproot NRM in 2016.
Someone who will use the election as a decision between an effort to elevate FDC and a return to the policies of building structures, mass mobilization, ground fundraising where the party can be independent and able to support its members. He must be able to compete with ruling regime which nearly has all resources thus making it easy for it to win national elections.
Finally, today the delegates have chosen Gen Muntu to take on either his former boss President Museveni if he chooses to contest Uganda’s Presidency again come 2016 when the country holds its next general elections.
Muntu must now intensify pressure on the NRM and take FDC to the next level. Failure to do that the FDC will go down in the books of Uganda’s political history as a perennial loser, something that can even culminate into its demise.
GEN. MUGISHA MUNTU FACTFILE
Born in October 1958, at Kitunga village to the late Enock Ruzima Muntuyera and Aida Matama Muntuyera He attended Mbarara Junior School, Kitunga Primary and Kitunga High School.
He later attended Makerere College School before joining Makerere University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree Political science.
It was at Makerere that he got interested in politics serving as the deputy President of the students union.
He joined the Nationala Resistance Army, a rebel movement led by current Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. After the guerrilla force assumed power in 1986, he rose through the military ranks first serving as head of military intelligence with Rwanda’s current President Paul Kagame as one of his junior officers.
The Russian trained military officer soon rose to the rank of major General and was appointed army commander of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces, a post he held from 1989 to 1998 making him the longest serving army commander.
It is also during his time as army chief that he became a member of Uganda’s Constituent Assembly from 1994 – 1995.
The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an islamist group’s attack on Kichwamba Technical Institute that claimed the lives of 80 students in Kabarole District, western Uganda in 1998 brought the curtains down on his long career as army commander.
He broke ranks with President Museveni by his admission in 2004 when Presidential term limits were lifted and this set him on an opposite path from his former boss though his exit from the ruling party was ‘peaceful’. He joined his former comrade Dr Kiiza Besigye who had also walked away from the ruling party in the opposition.
In 2006, he was elected by Parliament to represent the country in the region’s legislative body, The East African Legislative Assembly.
He has been FDC’s mobilization secretary since leaving EALA, twice losing to Rtd Col Kiiza Besigye in his quest to become FDC President.
Reported by Nicholas Mwesigwa