Last week, Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Mugisha Muntu took leave from the position of national coordinator of the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT); Uganda’s youngest political party so that he can concentrate on his 2021 presidential bid.
This he did in accordance with the constitution of the ANT party whose presidential flag he is seeking. The party is scheduled to conduct nominations for its presidential candidates on July 1 – 2.
Muntu spoke to Uganda Radio Network (URN) Muntu about his plan for the 2021 elections.
It is more than a year since ANT formally launched as a political party, what has it been up?
After establishing leadership structures at National, Regional and District levels, we proceeded to create 21 sub-regions all over the country to ensure that we go down to the village level hence organize elections from village upwards. Unfortunately, COVID-19 cut our plans short.
We agreed that the interim party leadership can continue with its interim work focusing on the immediate situation of engaging in the 2021 elections, after which we shall turn back to the immediate long term program which is to build ANT with a firm foundation.
How prepared is ANT for the 2021 elections?
Pretty well. We are now ensuring that we field candidates at all levels mainly concentrating at councilors; LC III, LC V, and LC III-Chairpersons, Township mayors and cities, and members of parliament. As we embark on mobilization of resources to back up our candidates.
How will the party achieve this when you abdicated your roles as a national coordinator?
Our constitution stipulates that the party chairperson can’t run for any elective office. Your concentration must be on building the party, brand it, mobilize resources to support candidates. So as a national coordinator, I had to resign and prepare to contest for the party’s presidential flag.
We were supposed to have a delegates’ conference on August 6, 2020, during which we will elect the presidential flag bearer.
Does this put ANT out of negotiations for a possible coalition between the different political forces in the opposition?
Not really, once we get a flag bearer, ANT will continue engaging in processes with other opposition forces working on a possibility of either building a coalition or having a framework for co-operation.
What is your view on call for the Opposition to field a joint candidate?
It’s one of the options that we should work towards. However, we must be aware that anything that we do including having one flag bearer is not the main objective. It’s a tool for enabling us to fulfill the objectives we’d have set for ourselves. Hopefully, we learn from our past mistakes like during The Democratic Alliance (TDA).
What stakes are on the table for you in the forthcoming presidential race?
Because I studied the ground, made analysis I see the vulnerability of the regime and now I know the system. I know that the majority of the people want change.
During your time as president of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), you seemed to be uncomfortable with the campaign for defiance. What’s wrong with defiance?
I have no problem with defiance. We wanted to keep on one path because we don’t want to divide attention. Many of us know that defiance has no problem it is a legitimate tool for struggle but we chose to take the route of building party institutions to help us oust the regime and manage power.
Assuming President Museveni loses the 2021 election, do you see a possibility of him handing over power?
I think he is not ready to relinquish power. You can psychologically see that the is not thinking about stepping aside. No signs of him trying to manage a transition. I don’t even think he has a succession plan.
Can you then count on the army for support?
You don’t have to have their support, but you have to operate in a way that they are not hostile to you as an organization and vice versa. In such a way that they can trust that you have the capability as an organization not only to take power to manage it responsibly. It’s only until you resolve the issue of governance, until you resolve the issue of a smooth transition, whatever is seen now, one can’t assume that it will survive the danger of an implosion.
What are the key ANT policy alternatives?
Re-orienting the education system which is at the core of the development process of the country. if you’ve got a highly educated and skilled human resource, you can develop just like Japan and Singapore. Others are Health, Agriculture, infrastructure, water and energy provision just to mention but a few.