KAMPALA. The former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party president, Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, has said he was contacted by Dr Kizza Besigye for talks with party elders before announcing the decision to quit the party.
This followed Dr Besigye’s disclosure that before his former fellow Bush War comrade and former co-founder of FDC decided to quit the biggest Opposition party, Besigye first contacted and sought a meeting with other party elders.
Asked whether Gen Muntu’s decision surprised him, Dr Besigye said: “Well to some extent yes because I had just chatted with him a day before [announcing departure] indicating that there was need to talk amongst the founders of our party, which he enthusiastically embraced. So I was rather surprised to that extent.”
Dr Besigye made the remarks on Thursday night while appearing on the NTV talk show ‘On the Spot’ hosted by Mr Patrick Kamara.
Yesterday, Gen Muntu confirmed receiving the invite for talks but said it would not stop his decision. He said he was still ready to engage the elders despite being out of the FDC.
“Dr Besigye actually sent me a message that we should meet with the elders and I said I am okay with that. I proposed that if he can fix for Wednesday [September 26] or any other day after that [it would be okay]. If he wants to call for a meeting of elders I will be there. I do not see any contradictions,” Gen Muntu said.
Gen Muntu’s departure has led to some turbulence within the FDC, with the party secretary general, Mr Nandala Mafabi, issuing a circular to all FDC structure leaders and elected leaders on the party mandate, giving them a two-week ultimatum, to confirm their continued allegiance in writing.
On whether he would attend that meeting as a guest, Gen Muntu said: “We are in the struggle because we did not go in FDC as an end in itself. Those elders are in FDC, we are now in New Formation, but we are still in the same struggle for two things which brought us together then; removal of the dictator and managing power better.”
Dr Besigye okayed Gen Muntu’s departure from the party saying as it is okay so long as he is still in the struggle and has not returned to the NRM regime which they left to form the FDC. He said people have a right to “associate and de-associate” so long as they are fighting the NRM junta.
“The good thing is that people are moving to the direction of change. In Sheema North where we have a by-election, we have a vibrant FDC candidate who was the resident district commissioner of Mitooma. He has come with a mass of NRM people who support him. All these are indicators that people are seeking change,” he said.
Dr Besigye added that he is not bothered by what the regime’s political propagandists say about a fractured Opposition because some National Resistance Movement Members of Parliament are dancing to the tunes of change by voting against the interests of Mr Museveni.
Citing the controversial Age Limit Bill and the recently passed Excise Duty Amendment Bill that introduced 0.5 per cent tax on Mobile Money transactions, Dr Besigye said some ruling party MPs boldly voted against them.
He, however, noted that the national dialogue will not bring any new dimension in the affairs of the country if the discussions are not made around the transition from President Museveni to another leader.
“I have a lot of respect for the efforts made by some of our senior leaders to take the country back on track through a national dialogue. But the organisers would be naive to think that the dialogue will go to the extent of negotiating Museveni out of power. Any dialogue that seeks to deal with the fundamental problem of this country, must address political transition,” Dr Besigye noted.