By Max Patrick Ocaido
KAMPALA. Greed and power struggle have been listed as the major underlying factors that forced Gen Mugisha Muntu to quit Patrick Amuriat’s Forum for Democratic Change (FDC).
On Tuesday, former FDC party president Muntu and his faction held a private meeting with the current party leadership led by Amuriat where he resolved that he was quitting the party with immediate effect to the surprise of the latter.
It should be noted that from the time Muntu lost to Amuriat in last year’s elections for FDC president, the party was sinking into deeper waters with no room for redemption.
The former Kumi County MP in November last year took the public by utmost surprise when beat the then incumbent Gen Muntu to become the 3rd FDC party president.
Although Muntu had lost to Amuriat, observers say Dr Kizza Besigye’s factor could not be ignored as he had wanted his own people to run the party.
Close associates of Dr Besigye such as Ingrid Turinawe, Mwijukye Francis and Mubarak Munyagwa among others were all on Amuriat’s side.
Even during the final day of the campaigns, Muntu who had been accused of being a mole told delegates to vote him out to confirm the accusation, it happened.
Muntu had also accused those not on his side of sabotage. Muntu pushed for party structures while the antagonistic side pushed for defiance.
Amuriat defeated three other candidates including incumbent Gen Muntu who trailed with only 460 votes as the former sailed to victory with 682 votes.
Amuriat’s victory came as a surprise to many considering that he was unpopular and not supported by more than 3/4 of the total opposition FDC MPs. Amuriat’s biggest influence was Dr. Kizza Besigye and his colleagues most of whom were not MPs.
Despite having no support in Parliament, Amuriat went ahead to maintain a cabinet that was in place including those who did not support him and among them is former Leader of Opposition (LoP) Winfred Kiiza, Opposition whip Ssemujju Nganda and others until recently when he replaced Kiiza with Betty Aol.
Whereas Amuriat continuously called for unity even from Muntu and his faction, the latter seemed not to forget the election loss and was not about to move on and allow Amuriat serve his tenure the same way the likes of Nandala Mafabi accepted defeat. In 2012, Muntu garnered 393 votes against Nandala’s 361 while Geoffrey Ekanya settled for 17 votes in a highly contested poll.
Elements of greed and selfishness from Gen Muntu and his camp started manifesting right after losing the election to ‘little known’ Amuriat. Hardly two days after losing the election at Namboole, Muntu addressed a press conference at Hotel Africana where he revealed that he would embark on massive consultations before deciding on his next move.
“We don't intend to rush to make decisions. The consultations we are going make are going to guide us, but what is clear is that nothing will be done in secrecy and I will inform Hon Oboi on every step that we stand,” Muntu said, adding that he is a democrat and honest leader who believes in transparency. He further urged Ugandans to keep calm saying that decisions should not be done in anger and frustrations.
He added that the decision to quit FDC or run a parallel party is a tough one that he couldn’t decide as an individual.
“The situation we are in is tough, it is very tough and that is why we have to make countrywide consultations. So we will be going back to do what we were doing before the campaigns started because we want to make an informed decision through a carefully considered decision,” Muntu said.
In that press conference, Muntu was accompanied by then Leader of Opposition Winfred Kiiza, Ibrahim Ssemujju (Opposition chief whip), Ibrahim Kasozi (Makindye East), Anna Adeke (Female Youth MP), Angeline Osegge (Soroti Woman MP), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality MP) among others who have since then remained in his faction.
It has also been noted that most of the FDC honchos who have quit the party along with Muntu lost in the FDC National Delegates Conference except Alice Alaso, former Serere Woman MP who went unopposed as FDC Deputy President-Eastern after Wafula Oguttu stepped down for her in the 2015 Delegates conference.
Others believed to be in the Muntu camp include; Stephen Ochola, former MP Serere County, Yokasi Bihande, former MP Bukonzo East and Kassiano Wadri, MP Arua Municipality. Yokasi Bihande is the husband to Winfred Kizza who is also in Muntu camp.
According to sources, Muntu and his camp have formed a new party with a Watch as its symbol and has been reserved for registration.