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    FULL LETTER: Why We Have Left FDC – Mugisha Muntu

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    Former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party president Gen Muntu has given reasons why he has quit the Najjanankumbi based party. Below is his full statement;

    Fellow Ugandans and former FDC colleagues,
    Greetings.
    I write to you today, in order to give you a detailed report of what a number of us have been doing since the beginning of the year. It is my hope that this report shall enable you to understand fully, our actions, intentions and hope for the future.
    Background:

    During the party presidential elections held last year, it was clear that there were two emerging views about the future of the party: the first was that of defiance. Those that held this view felt that the best way forward was to engage in sustained civil disobedience and other such activities with the end goal of ‘reclaiming our victory’ from Gen. Museveni, consolidating the ‘People’s government’ as constituted by some party leaders and like-minded opposition members and ousting the regime by popular protests. The focus here, was perhaps best captured by our now party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat when he declared, ‘Under my leadership, there will only be one party strategy: defiance’.

    The second view, which I championed, was that without properly constituted party structures, we could not achieve much. We believed that our focus should be on building grassroot structures such that whether we chose to engage in civil disobedience or participated in electoral processes, we would have the capacity to not only mobilise people to vote nationwide, but also field strong candidates right from LC1 level and be able to protect our votes. In the event that we were to engage in civil disobedience, our view was that we should have party structures in place to not only hold these activities across the entire country, but also sustain them over a long period of time. A few protests in Kampala and other strongholds might make it to the evening news, but they will not deliver the change we need.

    When the party delegates gathered to vote, the majority chose the defiance agenda. I have said before and will restate today that the elections were legitimate and my brother Amuriat was the rightful winner of this contest. I have never and will never attempt to discredit his victory or contest it in any way, shape or form.

    However, the implication of this victory, was that those of us who feel very strongly that the party should be focused on a different path were faced with two choices: we could either engage in disruptive politicking within the party, with the view of compromising the new leadership’s agenda or we could engage in constructive consultations with them with the view of finding out if there is space for us to not just exist within the party, but also continue to do the things we believe should be done (without appearing to counter the leadership). Those of you who have interacted with me know that I am uncompromising when it comes to ethical practice; I do not believe in doing things behind people’s backs and if the choice before me is to do so for political gain or avoid it and risk political loss, I will always choose the latter.

    Therefore, after conceding defeat and officially handing over the party, I also publicly announced that we would engage in nationwide consultations to determine our next steps. We promised that we would be transparent about our activities and intentions at every step of the way. I am therefore glad to report to you that there is no single consultative meeting we have held without the involvement or informing of local party leaders. Each of these meetings has also been open in nature, with people from all sides of the political spectrum in attendance.

    Reasons for Consultations
    As mentioned earlier, our view has always been that we cannot hope to achieve our objectives without strong grassroot structures and networks. This view is not just a theoretical ideal. You all know that after the 2016 presidential elections, we had decided to contest the outcome as declared by the Electoral Commission. When we set about gathering our evidence however, we found ourselves in a situation where we could not collect or locate over 9000 DR forms.

    In our view, the logical thing to have done after we had been cheated in the 2016 general elections would have been to do an assessment of our situation and plug our weak points. Instead, we slid back into our internal fights as had been happening in the last five years.
    During the party presidential campaigns, it became very clear that there was even less tolerance for alternative views. Not towing the ‘correct line’ meant being branded a mole. After the elections, many of us sincerely wondered whether there was still a place in the party for our views or if we were simply expected to keep quiet and follow whatever others believe. This is not a sustainable way to live or lead. We also could not in good conscience, engage in sabotaging the new leadership or compromising their efforts. As someone who lived through that kind of situation first hand during my 5-year tenure as president, I can authoritatively say it is of no use to anyone. It neither advances the party nor benefits any of the warring groups. All it does is distract the entire opposition, spend all our energy on internal power struggles and benefits those in government. And so, the only way forward was for us to engage in an open, mature, systematic and inclusive nationwide dialogue about whether to stay in the party or not.

    Available Choices
    It is no secret that there have been calls from the population for new political actors. In the aftermath of our party presidential elections, there was talk of formation of a ‘Third Force’. There was also anecdotal evidence of a need for this; the number of independent MPs and leaders has been steadily growing, several people even within the ruling party have been dissatisfied with their party but not convinced enough to join ours and there is a huge number of youth, especially among the working class, that is critical of government but sceptical of the opposition as well. These are facts that every political actor must seek to understand.

    Nature abhors a vacuum. When we started FDC, there were already established parties. Yet the reality was, none of them was fulfilling the political desires of the people at the time. Indeed, within a few months of our formation, we had membership that far surpassed that of all other established opposition parties. None of this was because of a single individual. It was because the mood in the country was conducive for another political force to emerge. The questions that we had hoped FDC would ask itself were as follows:
    1. Is the political space in Uganda ripe for a different approach to politics? If consultations were held and the conclusion was that it isn’t, well and good. If not however, we’d then need to proceed to the next question.

    2. What are the changes that need to be made to meet this political vacuum and are we as a party willing to make those changes? Sometimes, you find that while there are calls for a certain change, the party is either unable or unwilling to make those changes. If for instance there is a sizeable number of people calling for armed conflict, it might be a real desire, but one that we as a party are unwilling or unable to heed due to our principles, values or status. If on the other hand, the changes to be made are reasonable and within our reach, then we would set about engaging in them in order to fill this vacuum.
    Our consultations therefore, have been an attempt to answer these questions. Of course given that we are not the ones in leadership, our hope was (and continues to be) that the FDC leadership appreciates that we set out to seek answers to questions that concern us all. Our reading of the situation was that for all intents and purposes, there were two parties existing in one. And until this was resolved, the party would end up suffering from infighting.

    In view of the above, we conducted nationwide consultations and have come to the following conclusions:
    1. There is a nationwide recognition of the fact that FDC is fractured. During all our consultation meetings, everyone that spoke admitted to or spoke of an internal rift in ideology. Many of our people are frustrated, either with the way things are being run by the current leadership or with the way things were being ran under mine. The purpose of pointing this out is not to apportion blame, but to simply articulate what most, if not all of us know for a fact.

    2. There is a strong desire among many party members for the reconciliation of the two major outlooks within the party. However, in spite of the good intentions, it has been our experience that simply reconciling for the sake of reconciliation is neither sustainable nor even ideal. During my term in office for instance, the amount of resources and time we spent on trying to keep the party united far outweighed the effort that was spent on building the party and furthering our agenda. Therefore, while I had the honour of handing over an unfractured party with more financial resources and stability than I inherited, it is also a fact that we had not made as much progress as we could have had we not had internal intrigue to deal with. It is therefore our view, that under the current circumstances, attempts at reconciliation will only be cosmetic, hinder the growth of the party and quite simply leave most members feeling dissatisfied at best and antagonistic towards each other at worst.

    3. Our reading of the current political situation in the country is that there is a political void that is not being filled by the party’s current strategy. We believe that this vacuum needs to be filled as soon as possible by approaching our leadership problem from a different perspective. Once again, the purpose of pointing this out is not to criticize or undermine the current leadership, but to simply state things as we see them. There are two possible outcomes of our conclusion on this matter; either we are wrong in our assessment or we are right. If we are wrong, then the party need not worry about it because our efforts will quite simply fall flat sooner than later and it will prove to us all that our ideology is flawed. In the event that we are right however, and our perspective resonates with a huge number of Ugandans, it is in FDC’s interest that those who fill this political void are friends of the party and are able to work with it on the shared goals and interests. Whichever way our reading of the situation goes therefore, it is our belief that it is in the best interests of the FDC for it to be explored.
    In view of these conclusions, I write to inform you of the following decisions we are taking:

    1. We have resolved to leave the party. As already explained, we do not do so in anger or animosity towards the current leadership, but in careful consideration of the national cause of liberating our country. The current party leadership needs to be given the opportunity to pursue their agenda untethered by the constant worry of sabotage or suspicion.
    2. To the extent that it depends on us, we are committed to ensuring that our departure causes the least possible disruption to the party and is amicable. We recognise that even though our preferred modes of operation differ significantly, our general goals and objectives for the country are aligned. As has been our policy throughout the consultation process, we commit to discussing issues, not people and to continue to put the country’s interests before selfish or partisan ones.
    In the same spirit, we call upon the FDC leadership to receive our departure in good faith, not as an indication of defiance to them, but a reflection of our confidence in the possibilities of unfettered cooperation.

    3. We recognise that there are leaders elected on the party ticket that are aligned to our view of things. While we encourage them to be true to what they believe, the decision of whether to resign their positions and join us, remain in their positions and cooperate with us or any other such action is entirely theirs to make. We neither seek to hold anyone at ransom nor cause any institutional disruption.
    Likewise, those party leaders opposed to our departure can rest assured that we respect their position and will not attempt to antagonise them. We encourage everyone to make a personal choice and commit to it without unnecessarily maligning others’ choices.

    4. Given the legal, logistical and practical challenges that will inevitably come from our decision, we are willing and offer to have a small committee composed of members from either side to discuss and agree on the best way to handle our departure. However, should this be deemed inconvenient or disruptive by the party, we would not like to place any extra burden on it. Our only hope is that an atmosphere is created that enables people to choose the direction they want to take without feeling unduly constrained.

    In conclusion, we believe that for the country to move forward, it needs strong parties and institutions. For a long time now, there has been a culture of individualism and we are conscious of the fact that attempts to build structures that are stronger than individuals will be an uphill task. Nevertheless, we persist, fully convinced that the destiny of our country rests not on the strength of a benevolent dictator or patriotic individual, but on the structured effort of every citizen. The sum total of our collective effort is far greater than our individual capacities. And so our commitment to you is that when we are finally established elsewhere and need to work with you to achieve common goals, our doors and hearts will always be open with the friendship and bond of beloved kin. For we are not enemies but allies.

    Together in the struggle
    Maj. Gen. (rtd) Mugisha Muntu
    ……………………………………

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    POLITICS

    Eyes On The Ball! Never Lose Sight Of Our Mission, Nor Be Discouraged By The Challenges That Will Come Our Way, Bobi Wine Tells Supporters

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    The National Unity Platform – NUP Party President – Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine – has appealed to his supporters not to lose hope.

    “We remain hopeful and determined to continue our struggle for a brighter future for all Uganans,” reads part of Bobi’s new year message delivered Sunday.

    As we begin 2023, Bobi says “I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for your continued support and dedication to our cause.”

    “Along the way this past year, your belief in our common vision for a better, more just and equal Uganda has been a constant source of motivation and inspiration for us. 2022 has been a challenging year, filled with both triumphs and setbacks. Many comrades including Jakana Nadduli have lost their lives for criticizing the regime. Denis Waiswa and Yakubu Kiggundu died in the line of duty. John Ddamulira, Semuddu Michael and Muhammad Kanatta disappeared and remain missing to date. Hon. Ssewanyana, Hon. Ssegirinya and comrade Olivia Lutaaya spent their second successive New Year’s Eve in jail. But through it all, we have remained committed to our fight for justice, freedom and democracy. We have stood firm in the face of intimidation and persecution, and have continued to raise our voices against corruption, abuse of power and the suppression of human rights.”

    According to Bobi, he is particularly inspired by the courage and determination of “our youth.” “Despite bearing the brunt of the regime’s brutality, you have stood up for what you believe in and have not been afraid to speak out against injustice. Your voices remain a major driving force behind our cause, and I am proud to stand alongside you in this fight. As we look ahead to 2023, we remain hopeful and determined to continue our struggle for a brighter future for all Ugandans.”

    Bobi acknowledges that “the road ahead will not be easy” but notes that “with your support and solidarity, we will keep fighting for the change that we know is possible.”

    Therefore, he said: “let us continue to work together and keep the fire burning in our hearts.”

    “Let us never lose sight of our mission, nor be discouraged by the challenges that will come our way. We are in this together.”

     

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    POLITICS

    My Time Is Up, Dr. Kizza Besigye Speaks Out On Quitting Active Politics: Says 2026 Won’t Be Any Magical Because M7 Is The Electoral Commission

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    Four-time Presidential candidate, Col RTD Dr. Kizza Besigye has for the first time hinted at retiring from active politics.Dr. Besigye ha been in the country’s political scene since 2001 and has contested for Presidency in 2001, 2006, 2011 and in 2016. The former opposition Forum for Democratic Change – FDC Party President was Friday speaking at a memorial service for the Busiro South MP late John Patrick Musisi at Namuzzi village, Ssisa sub-county in Wakiso on Friday, Besigye when he said that the Bible he believes in prescribed seventy as the life expectancy. Dr. Besigye, a former ally of President Yoweri Musevei is currently aged 66.

    “I have four years to continue with this struggle,” KB (as a section of his supporters call him is reported by the URN to have said. He said that during the remaining period, he would commit his entire effort to fight until freedom is achieved.

    Besigye turns 70 in four years.

    He, however, criticizes those who do not believe in an age limit in the performance of given functions, adding that the age limit was a biblical prescription.

    Earlier on, he described as futile efforts by the opposition in Uganda to dislodge the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) from power using the ballot. He said that the same NRM is suffocating political parties and as such, will never allow those parties to freely organize.

    He said he had listened to the Leader of Opposition in Parliament (LOP) Mathias Nsamba Mpuuga outlining the legislative agenda for 2023. Besigye said the year 2026 would not be a magical year even if the agreed joint opposition candidate wins because Museveni is the Electoral Commission” and the “courts in case of electoral litigation.”

    Besigye said the late Patrick Musisi who died in 2005 still lives because of the struggle he started, the struggle for freedom still continues through the people he mentored. He said Musisi worked for the unity of the opposition to struggle for that freedom and the conditions he was militating against still obtain as critical opposition is denied space and assembly.

    He also noted the rampant illegal arrests and abductions, all of which he said needed Ugandans working together to make a new beginning and a transition before they can think of political ideologies and colors.

    In attendance was a host of current and former MPs, politicians, and religious and cultural leaders who attended the ceremony. MPs included Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala), Dr Lulume Bayiga (Buikwe South), Joseph Sewungu (Kalungu West), Robert Ssekitoleeko (Bamunanika), Betty Ethel Naluyima (Woman – Wakiso) and Asumani Basaalirwa (Bugiri).

    Other politicians included former MPs Ibrahim Kasozi, Salam Musumba, Latiff Ssebaggala, and Paul Mwiru.

    Sadam Gayira, President of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) said the NRM was a tree already eaten by ants and that the opposition only needed to push in a common direction or else that tree hits the house and animals.

    Dr. Bayiga said that the late Musisi generously invested in them as budding politicians in the Uganda Young Democrats-UYD.

    Samuel Lubega Mukaku, said the opposition was not making any gains when he sees an opposition party recruiting from a fellow opposition party.

    While the opposition continues to wail, the NRM senior supporters including the Vice President Jessica Alupo are already canvassing for support for Museveni ahead of the 2026 polls.

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    NATIONAL

    Otafiire Should Be In Prison – Besigye Stings Internal Affairs Minister, Reveals How Muhoozi/M7 Are Duping Ugandans…

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    Minister Kahinda Otafiire (L) and Dr. Kizza Besigye

    Four-time Presidential candidate,  Dr. Kizza Besigye has taken a jibe at Internal Affairs Minister Kahinda Otafiire, Chief Justice Owiny Dollo, President Yoweri Museveni and his son Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

    While appearing on NBS’ Morning Breeze on Monday morning, Dr. Besigye revealed that from the end of last year when they talked about the failure to stop the current crisis and how it must be dealt with, they have seen the escalation of the violation of Human Rights.

    “The drone phenomenon came back plus arresting people and others disappearing. This is state terror that has been escalating from that time,” he said.

    Besigye adduced that this armed violence in the country may be from people who can’t survive and are fighting for their survival adding that he doesn’t rule out a rebellion but rather a possibility considering the political situation in the country.

    “What is most likely, however, is that this armed violence is state inspired. I am increasingly inclined to believe that the violence we are seeing is State-inspired to create some kind of emergency.”

    He contended, “There is no doubt about the existence of gross Human Rights abuses. Security people have been shown on camera crashing our people.

    “Have those who crashed people ever been arraigned in any court? Who is protecting them? The Otafiires of this world. Otafiire saying what he is saying is the utmost abuse of the intelligence of Ugandans.

    “There has been a lot of talk about the war in Ukraine, which has pushed the economic crisis further, but the crisis in Uganda started before the war in Ukraine. ”

    The four-time presidential candidate propounded that the crisis is intensifying every day, and that this leads to other things like labour externalization and insecurity because of the desperate situation in the country.

    He added that political action is not just defined by what political parties are doing but it is the population that determines the political mood.

    “Otafiire’s right place should be in prison. He is the Minister in charge of Internal Affairs. He has seen what has happened because of his police officers. Didn’t he see Kakwenza?”

    He maintained that Otafiire has never paraded anyone who tortured Kakwenza Rukirabashaija or anyone under his watch.

    He asserted, “All political actors in the opposition united and agreed that electoral processes will not free Uganda. That came as a result of the experiences during the by-elections we had.

    “As time has gone on, it has become increasingly clear that the purpose of Muhoozi doing what he has done and coming when he did, is related to the political crisis in the country.

    “Muhoozi increasingly has now presented himself as two things. A younger generation and saying he represents something new, not the NRM.

    “They want to package a message that will attract the young people to him, then, at the right time, tell the people, “we are not ready, let’s support my father for another term.

    “That’s why he (Muhoozi) is rightly called a ‘standby generator’ by some groups of people.”

    He also disclosed that Muhoozi and Mr. Museveni are the same. They represent exactly what Ugandans should end.

    “Our position is clear. We want a transition from gun rule to popular rule. We have laid out what needs to be done in the transition. We need a new consensus.”

    He intimated that Muhoozi is simply responding to the tone they have set, he is not setting the tone adding that he can’t dismiss Muhoozi because all power belongs to their family.

    “The Chief Justice Owiny-Dollo will put on his wigs but with no power at all. Parliament is a joke, it has nothing, and that’s why we need a new consensus that will develop new institutions that will give people power.”

    Besigye divulged that Muhoozi is the overall boss of the military, not Mbadi and that if one brought Mbadi anywhere in the country, no one will identify him, everybody knows Muhoozi and Saleh.

    “You see the Vice President representing the First Lady, a minister! This is what the country must end.”

     

    By Kalamira Hope

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