FDC DECIDES: Muntu, Besigye Face Off

Today is the D-day for Uganda’s largest opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) to choose its presidential flag bearer for the 2016 general elections.

Besigye and Muntu  Photo: Monitor
Besigye and Muntu Photo: Monitor

On the ballot are two maverick politicians, Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu, the party president who took over from Dr. Kizza Besigye, a fellow competitor for the flag bearer slot

Muntu took over party presidency in November 2012 after defeating Nandala Mafabi, who is now the party General Secretary and Geoffrey Ekanya, Tororo County Member of Parliament who recently attempted to undress and commit suicide after learning that Tororo County had not been granted district status.

During the 2012 contest, Muntu garnered 393 votes against Nandala’s 361 while Ekanya settled for 17 votes.

Dr. Col. Kizza Besigye, Uganda’s 21st century opposition political figure who has contested for presidency in the last three elections, that is 2001, 2006 and 2011 and has led innumerable civil protests against the current NRM government.

In the last months, the two men trotted the country canvassing for support and meeting party delegates from North to South, East and West.

Besigye attracted large crowds on a daily basis while Muntu went underground.

Media rarely took time to trail Muntu campaigns. Team Besigye used social media to popularize their candidate; team Muntu never used social media to politically vend their candidate

Is Muntu a mole?

Over the years, anti-Muntu politicians have branded him an NRM mole within the opposition, something which he has vehemently rejected.

While addressing Acholi region party delegates late last month in Gulu, Muntu said that he is not bothered by mole tag and those who allege he has been planted by the government in opposition to destabilize the party.

“I have not been panicking about these allegations of being a mole for all this while. I am instead continuing to do my work to develop FDC and now I can honestly say I am not bothered, no,” he said.

Early August, Besigye also told Acholi party delegates that Muntu is not a mole within the opposition saying he has worked with the latter for so long and he has admirations for him.

“I worked with Gen. Muntu in the army for long.  As UPDF army Commander, he was my boss. After moving away from the NRM, we both joined hands under the FDC. I have been the party president and Gen Muntu was directly under me as party Secretary for mobilization. He is the one leading me as the party boss, and for all this time we worked together, I have known nothing wrong with him,” he said.

Those who say Muntu is a mole have never substantiated their allegations. This is politics.

The Team Muntu, Besigye rift

As delegates’ conference drew nearer, Muntu planned to meet party delegates on Monday August 31st, a move that team Besigye hastily rejected.

The latter petitioned party Electoral Commission which called off Muntu’s meeting.

Again, a member of team Besigye petitioned party Electoral Commission accusing Muntu on bribing delegates.

Mr. Mugarura, the party electoral commission chairman dismissed the petition due to lack evidence.

On the last minute, team Besigye is now accusing Muntu of transporting party delegates and offering them accommodation, which is supposed to be done by the party secretariat.