General Mugisha Muntu has defied speculation that he plans to leave the Forum for Democratic Change political party. At a press conference in Kampala on Wednesday morning, Gen. Muntu said he respects the outcome of the FDC leadership race, which he lost to Patrick Amuriat, but called for a party-wide consultative process about the direction of the party.
"We do not want to rush any decision," Gen. Muntu said, surrounded by loyal members of the party, including Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, MP Winnie Kiiza, and FDC Chief Whip Semujju Nganda. "We want to make a considered decision," he added, and said the consultations will start on Friday when he hands over office.
Gen. Muntu told journalists he remains a member of the party and would continue to mobilise the party's supporters against planned amendments to the Constitution to amend the presidential age limit, as well as a proposal to ease compulsory acquisition of land by the state.
Gen Muntu last Friday lost his position to former Kumi County MP, Mr Patrick Amuriat Oboi.
This left many people pondering whether he would quit the party after a heated campaign in which his leadership approach was questioned.
Many poliuticial commentators and speculators were of the view that he would walk away from FDC and form a new political party.
"The problem is that many of us act with a negative mindset. If there is a controversy, you react negatively; it doesn't help. If there is a controversy, engage in it with a positive mind because if there is a national crisis, it will suck all of us in. It doesn't matter whether you are DP, FDC, UPC, or NRM," he said.
He said, Uganda, in the next three or four years will certainly experience change which has to be managed without going through another phase of bloodletting.
Gen Muntu's full statement
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the support you showed our campaign over the last three months.
We travelled to all the regions of the country and were overwhelmed by the amount of passion and determination Ugandans have to change the political fortunes of our country.
During the course of the campaigns, it became very clear to all of us that the political culture that has been established by the regime is not only detrimental to our development as a nation, but also very unpopular. People are tired of politicians lying, cheating, pretending and selling to them hot air. Ugandans are ready for change, and with a little more organisation and grassroot mobilization, we can all be a part of that change.
As I speak to you today, doctors have just called off a strike because of horrible working conditions, public prosecutors are on strike because of poor working conditions, the number of decent jobs available are declining, crime is rising and Ugandans are being plunged deeper and deeper into desperation. In the midst of these challenges, the only thing General Museveni is interested in is changing article 102(b) of the constitution to allow him to stand in 2021 and changing the land laws to disadvantage the already disadvantaged Ugandans.
In light of these facts, I would like to announce today that starting next week, we will be going back to doing what we were doing before the campaigns began: joining hands with all like minded Ugandans and partners in building the structures and networks necessary to resist General Museveni’s attempts to change our constitution and to empower Ugandans to take back their country. Specifically, we are going to be doing the following:
1. Mobilizing all Ugandans to participate in the election of LC1 chairpersons and women councils as and when these elections take place
2. Encourage, support and mentor pro-change Ugandans across party lines to offer themselves as candidates in these elections as and when they take place
3. Mobilize Ugandans across party lines to pressure government to drop their efforts of changing the provisions of our constitutional provisions on presidential age-limits and land
Lastly, I know that there are many among you that have been asking me about the recently concluded party elections. As I stated on Saturday morning, I fully respect the outcome of our party’s elections and congratulate the new party president. It is also clear that there are significant, undeniable issues and differences that exist within the party. Some emerged during the campaigns while others have been long-standing.
There are some who feel these differences are irreconcilable while there are others that feel they can be resolved. The only way to know what is true is for us to have a frank, open and exhaustive discussion about this not just with the newly elected FDC leadership, but with other stakeholders right from the grassroots to national level. We intend to pursue this consultative process and will have an opportunity to start it on Friday this week (1st December) when I officially hand over office at Najjanankumbi.
Regardless of the outcome of these consultations, I would like to reiterate this to Ugandans: let us all put the interests of the country ahead of personal or even party interests. Let us focus our efforts on doing whatever we can to build a Uganda we can all be proud of.
A country that truly offers each of her citizens the opportunity to prosper, access justices and be united in our diversity and just. This is a vision I have worked towards ever since I was 23 years old and by God’s grace, it will be the vision I work towards for all my waking days. God bless you and God bless this beautiful nation we all call home.
Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Mugisha Muntu