Gen. Muntu: I thought you left for a ‘Third Force’ last November, but you waited another 10 months!

I was wrong, I thought Gen. Mugisha Muntu was ready to move and start on his own, as he lost to Patrick Oboi Amuriat in the Presidential Election of 2017 in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). Muntu has since then, been working on his on, as he has done his parts and been together with the party, but not in official fashion. Now, today it got leaked early, but stated later through an official statement, that Muntu was leaving the party he was establishing 2004.

I was thinking he wanted to leave earlier, when he wrote this in November last year: “I want to operate in an environment where I feel I am trusted by those that I am working with. So colleagues, I don’t want to be unfair to you nor do I want to say that you are being unfair to me. Therefore, at a personal level, there are decisions I will have to make in the coming days and weeks. I ask for your patience and prayers. We need to bear with each other even as we ponder on the decision that we will have to make. We do our part as human beings and the rest we leave it to God” (Mugisha Muntu, 25.11.2017).

That is why I expected him earlier, as he didn’t trust the FDC anymore and not the ones leading, as he wasn’t one in charge. His fraction of the FDC wasn’t moving the masses or the delegates of the party, as they decided someone else than Muntu. This shows, as long as he rose to prominence in the party and had relevance, he would stay, but when the steering of the ship needed another turn. He feels the needs to bail and led something on his own.

That is why I take s small piece from his statement upon leaving the FDC:

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” (Gen Muntu: Why We are Quitting FDC, 25.09.2018).

Therefore, today isn’t a shock, I was expecting it to be happening much sooner, I was wrong on that, but my expectation of press conference at Hotel Africana in November 2017. I anticipated so much more, as the fallout of losing would add pressure. As his place and position in the party was eradicated and no special VIP place was made for him. He was a moving car without any place to park.

Now, that the car has officially crashed and he is telling more what he is up to tomorrow. This is far from the end of the FDC. Even if the rumored part of “independent” MPs, as it was indicated of a Fang Fang meeting in August 2018, where 29 FDC MPs was planning a rebellion and stopping paying their monthly contribution to the party. If these are the “we”, Muntu have been talking about all day. It would make sense, as there are moderates and compliance MPs, who has had no trouble with a soft approach to steering the conversation and also the change of leadership from the NRM. Instead of going heads-on with defiance and civil disobedience towards the state. That is why, most likely, the ones in favor of the Shadow Government. Are the ones following Muntu.

However, that will be revealed at a later junction. We who had a hunch in November 2017, was right. It though it would happen much quicker, but it was a slow force, a ‘third force’. In this manner, there shouldn’t be a worry for the FDC. The FDC has an administration and protocols, as well as established party. They should be function without Muntu and his fraction. Just like they have done with other major political operatives leaving the party. They have seen this with others and continued their agenda. So the FDC should just continue. Whatever or whoever that follow Muntu on ‘Third Force’, as him and his allies will find their way. Certainly, he intend to led and reign in that, as he cannot be controlled or be a second fiddle there.

Muntu has proven that, he will do his thing, by any means. Muntu couldn’t manage to find a new way or even seek other positions within the FDC. If he as such a Party Builder, why wouldn’t he like to see the spoils? Now he plans to start a ‘Third Force’ and bring with him the possible moderates?

We have to see the 27th September 2018 Press Conference, whatever he brings to the table as he jumps ship. We just have to await that one, but he is not FDC anymore, which has been his home since 2004. He was there for 14 years, working and building, but when they didn’t give him confidence. Muntu decided to leave, instead of waiting for a new role. Peace.

FDC Statement wishing a farewell to Gen. Mugisha Muntu (25.09.2018)

Gen. Mugisha Muntu Statement: That he leaves the FDC with immediate efffect (25.09.2018)

Official release:

Gen. Mugisha Muntu statement (09.08.2018)

Opinion: Are we seeing an original FDC split? – Into two Parliamentary Groups?

Just as things merger for a political outcome, things can also dismantle for the same reason. That is maybe something we are seeing these days, as the new leadership inside the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) is splitting the party, as the hardliners and the ones who are more favorable working with the National Resistance Movement (NRM) are separating. There been two fractions, the ones who stood by Gen. Mugisha Muntu and the ones who are now behind newly elected Patrick Oboi Amuriat. Therefore, this fraction has appeared ever since the last election of the FDC Party President.

Now that POA has taken his first major leadership move inside the party, there seemingly quick to address and show their allegiance. They are not working with the party, but already showing their attitude and lack of serving their party, even their constituents, as they are more into their committee roles and perks. Than actually thinking, that these are allocated by their respective parties and not because of entitlement.

Reported meeting at Fang Fang:

The fired Leader of Opposition, Winnie Kiiza and 28 other Members of Parliament on the Forum for Democratic Change ticket are said to have resolved to form a separate entity at Parliament. Sources are telling us the MPs, who sat at Fang Fang Hotel Kampala for up to 6 hours last night, decided to cautiously detach from FDC leadership in Najjankumbi, mobilize other opposition parties and leaning independent colleagues to establish a significant numerical opposition power house targeting over 70 members” (…) ““We have decided to come up with a separate entity in the house for all opposition members and independent leaning MPs,” one of the sources who attended the meeting told us. ChimpReports has learnt that, the 29 FDC MPs will immediately withdraw the Shs 500,000 monthly contributions to the party” (Dickens H. Okello – ‘Winnie Kiiza and Team to End FDC Ties, Form Parallel Group’ 08.08.2018 link: https://chimpreports.com/winnie-kiiza-and-team-to-end-fdc-ties-form-parallel-group/).

Extract from Statement by Winne Kiiza:

Allow me to thank the FDC party under the leadership of, Gen. (Rtd) Gregory Mugisha MUNTU for the opportunity they gave me to serve my country. It is one I will never regret. It is some opportunity that saw us move strides together for a common and a better tomorrow. I would like in a special way to thank my colleagues from all opposition parties in the 10th Parliament. Equally, those in the NRM who stood with me and supported the voice of reason when the situation demanded” (Winnie Kiiza, 08.08.2018).

What I am thinking when reading this are we going back in time before the 2006 elections, when the FDC hadn’t been established and was negotiations between two parliamentary groups named Reform Agenda (RA) and Parliamentary Advocacy Forum (PAFO), even some of the gentlemen who was apart of these units are in the midst of these movements today. This is Gen. Mugisha Muntu, Reagan Okumu, Odonga Otto and so on. These people are still in the mix and playing this out.

Are these now playing their cards to answer back to Besigye or are they trying to figure out a new way. Because the old merger didn’t play out as they wanted? Now that their fraction are now loosing and their loyalty to Muntu is making them looking weak inside the FDC. As the POA is putting his stamp on the organization.

Since, there is sources of an informal FDC spilt within the Parliament, are the PAFO sort of organization opening and becoming a new party for the 2021. That will be official in 2020. If so, than we might see Muntu running it, even if he screams: “Country before Self” every time he can. Surely, he does not like being in the shadow of Besigye and POA. Who like being pushed to the side, when you have worked for a long time as a Party President.

However, this is just speculations, I expected when POA won the Presidency, that Gen. Muntu would start on his own. Now, that his allegiance of people are starting their own parallel parliament group. This is the marsh towards 2021 elections. Clearly, this could be the next move for him to join these 27 MPs and try to get another position as he is a fringe candidate within the FDC. As these people are already stopping to associate themselves with the party.

That is why we are seeing another Reform Agenda Versus Parliamentary Advocacy Forum in the 10th Parliament. The FDC is established, but with the loss of 27 MPs, these are really showing the force right now. But if the voters will be so forgiving, that is another scenario. Time will tell and if these people still have suction at all or if they will fall back, as there is always some who goes back in the needs of campaign. To get the needed support and machine behind them.

This is not a positive move, it is only doing justice to the wish of Museveni. Who wished to destroy the opposition after the 2016 General Election. Just as he has skirmished in the Democratic Party (DP) and Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), he can continue to purge the opposition with the Parallel FDC Parliament Group, who he surely can drop envelopes to secure the needed votes in the Parliament.

Let see how this goes or if the rebellion will even become something of power or if they are falling flat with time. Nevertheless, this is a victory for Museveni. As he has possibly put the FDC in pre-2006 state, where it was two fractions.

Therefore we have FDC and FDC Parallel, which is two different entities. Clearly, to make sure the party are weaken. Because by the election of 2016, the party had 36 MPs. This means if all of the 26 MPs are leaving 10 MPs, but there was 10 Independent at that time, so if it is 10 independent plus 16 MPs. Means that there are left 20 MPs who are loyal to the case. It is still a big defeat, but shows the marginalization of the FDC in parliament. The numbers have changed with by-elections, so there would be a few more FDC MPs, but the damage is still severe.

Now, its just have to play out. Peace.

Forum for Democratic Change: ‘Re: Change of Opposition Leadership in Parliament’ (06.08.2018)

My take on the FDC Reshuffle: Entitlement and Political Maturity doesn’t goes hand-in-hand!

When Alexander the Great visited the philosopher Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for him, Diogenes is said to have replied: ‘Yes, stand a little less between me and the sun.’ It is what every citizen is entitled to ask of his government.” – Henry Hazlitt ( Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest & Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics).

There been some bad blood after the Forum of Democratic Change (FDC) reshuffle of the shadow cabinet. This piece will tell how I sees it, maybe you will disagree, but everyone see things differently. Everyone should see themselves as representatives of the constituency and the party they are representing. They are not their on their own pocket and will, they are there for a reason. If that is forgotten, than these leaders should be changed, maybe that is why the FDC Party President changed a few. They needed a lesson of humility, as the leadership should be moved, to progress and also get new ideas into the bodies. There been reactions, especially by some.

The reacting the hardest is the likes of Aruu MP Odonga Otto, Bugweri County and MP Abdu Katuntu. The ones who haven’t said anything is Kasese Woman MP Winnie Kiiza and Aswa County MP Ronald Reagan Okumu. Even if all of these MPs was dropped from the shadow cabinet and changed by the Central Leadership this week, as the sweep of changes done by the Forum for Democratic Change Party President Patrick Oboi Amuriat came into effect. That should people be prepared to as a party changes with a new President and signaling new way of steering ahead.

Even if the current shadow cabinet and committee members by the FDC have done a good job, the need for fresh blood isn’t a bold move, but an aspiring move, to show that people aren’t entitled to titles and roles, even within the FDC. If it was so, than the old-guard of the FDC would naturally have positions. These people was appointed by the previous leadership under Gen. Mugisha Muntu, they are still party members and have rights as that. Still, this shows the maturity of the party.

Even as the likes of Odonga Otto says he will leave the party, but that is something he has promised to do dozens of time and always returns. Unless, he has other plans and not sure where to go for his support. Because, Hon. Odonga has usually, nearly once every year promised to leave the party, but never had the guts to do so. Who knows what Hon. Katuntu will do now, as he calls it a purge, and is disregarding the party, he goes total warfare over losing the committee seat in COSASE.

What is special and shows real maturity is how silent former Leader of the Opposition Hon. Winnie Kiiza have been. She has been a leading example, even as she has to step dow. I was skeptical to her in the beginning, because of the disbandment of defiance campaign and giving into the dictatorship as a minority party in the Parliament in 2016. Still, she has played her part and been a vocal voice with reason in the chambers. Winnie Kiiza have shown leadership skills and proven herself. The two years she has had as LoP has shown her ability and capacity as opposition politician. Therefore, her silence now shows maturity and also what sort of person she is.

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) apologists that has attacked this changes, maybe, just maybe, look into your own party and how you have to follow every whim of the State House. If anyone inside the party has any ambition, they are taken out and losing their position. Look at Amama Mbabazi, Gilbert Bukenya and so on. Not like NRM would have changed the top head like the FDC has done, the FDC is on their third Party President. The NRM have the same head and his controlling it through the NRM Caucus to follow his guidelines like they are all blind and have no visions themselves. Therefore, their defense of themselves should come first and secondly, their attacks on fresh bloods of the shadow cabinet. Should be a warning of the lack of movement within the movement. It is a movement that isn’t moving, but the FDC has the guts to change, to spark new ways.

Some might comment and say this is a purge on the loyalists around Muntu and making sure the loyal around POA instead. Not like that could ever happen in the NRM, they are encircled by Museveni and no one else. If they are trying to show some flash and ambition, the President will call them in and demote them. No one cried foul when the NRM ‘rebels’ was demoted in Parliament. Because, they was demoted not for political reasons, but because they didn’t follow the NRM Caucus and voted against the Age Limit.

Still, the same people have an issue with the changes within the shadow cabinet, maybe, just maybe, the apologist should be more sincere. FDC has made a decision, a healthy one and ones seeing the party as bigger than personalities, will accept this. But the ones who feels entitled to leading positions will be disenfranchised, like Hon. Katuntu.

Time will tell, but salute to Winnie Kiiza, she carried this steady and should be proud of her tenure. Even I who was really against her role and playing this out. Sees what she has delivered to role. Now lets see what the new leaders and shadow cabinet will do. Peace.

Uganda: Congratulations Hon. Chris Opoka-Okumu and Farewell Comrade Edward Segganyi (01.03.2017)

upc-01-03-2017-p1upc-01-03-2017-p2

Statement from Hon. Betty Ocan – on the events leading to campaign violence in Lalogi, Gulu (Released: 24.12.2015)

FDC Convoy Attack 22.12.2015 P1

Tuesday December 22nd, was the day for Uganda’s Presidential Candidate Dr Kizza Besigye to have a campaign rally in Gulu district. To build up to the this, the FDC national campaign team arranged to hold mini rallies in Bobi, Lakwana (Opit), Odek (Acet), Lalogi sub counties and Gulu municipality at the Carribean/ Kauda grounds.

After his successful rallies in Opit and Acet trading centers, Dr Besigye was due to travel to Lalogi. I, Hon Betty Aol Ocan being the area Woman MP and host of my Party President was in the advance team responsible for preparation of his rallies. As such I was always ahead and in Lalogi I arrived before the Besigye Team only to find that the Deputy Speaker Hon Oulanya Jacob was having a rally at our booked venue. He had mobilized his supporters and was physically present talking to a crowd. His parked convoy had one lead Police Vehicle and about 12 armed escorts and a number of “crime preventers” who seem stationed for a purpose at the venue Aketket Primary school ground.

When I arrived, as you may have seen on the NTV news footage on that day, I reached out to engage Hon Oulanya and his team on what was going on in our booked campaign venue. We chatted amicably as we always do in the corridors of parliament and he argued that his rally was prearranged before Besigye. He stated that there was no need for Besigye to interfere and in that case we should leave. I reminded him of our arrangement with the community leaders who agreed with me and we chatted on….

For a reason I am yet to know, many of his supporters started waving sticks and hoes, axes, stones at my team as time passed by. The situation quickly became tense and in the confusion his “security” manhandled me in a failed attempt to get me away. I am sad to note that my hair was pulled and I was physically assaulted which led the gallant youth on my campaign team to protect me from the rowdy melee. All this while, the fracas was being filmed by NTV and NBS news crew who were also present at the venue.

Atiak 23.12.15

Now, as the disturbance escalated, the attention of the rowdy NRM supporters was drawn to the TV crew and their news van which had been well documenting the situation all this while. Their anger was perhaps due to fear of exposure of their conduct. They attacked the crew and journalists were pelted with stones and great damage was caused to their equipment. Villagers started gathering from all over in large numbers despite the security deployment and over powered Hon Oulanya and his supporters. The deputy speaker quietly escaped from the site and his guards fizzled out one by one. This brawl lasted about 35 minutes!

Dr Besigye then later joined us at the venue and we had a clam campaign as scheduled later having a big rally in Gulu town that evening. We have reported the matter at Lalogi Police Station and a case of threatening violence, causing injury and damage has been opened against Hon Oulanya and his campaign team involved. Assault case SD REF:08/22/12/2015.

I later heard the Aswa Region police Spokesperson Jimmy Patrick Okema comment on Mega FM that “the action of the Deputy Speaker at Lalogi was provoked by Hon Betty Aol.” Of course they are trying to cover up the misuse of power and state security by Hon Jacob Olanya and we dismiss such a baseless statement due to lack of substance. We do have the footage of the entire fracas and our people are on the ground in the villages.

Also, you may be aware that the Electoral Commission had suspended ALL parliamentary campaigns and Hon Jacob Oulanya campaigning on that day was in violation of this Electoral Commission directive. His team was shamelessly and unlawfully breaching that directive. Only presidential campaigns were scheduled to go ahead at the time.

Friends, this campaign should not be a matter of Do or Die. People should not take the law into their hands and should respect the election schedule. The youth being used to break the law in the name of “crime preventers and security” will account individually and collectively. If may be they thought fear and intimidation would cow us in to giving up our rights, they are miscalculating big time. We have been in those trenches for a while now. Our team will continue to obey the law and we request other political players and the police to do the same. And intimidation will not get you votes we promise!

Our sincere apologies to the people of Lalogi who were affected by this unfortunate event and unnecessary attention. I have known people in Lalogi as some of the most calm people I have met in my decades of community work in Gulu district. Our biggest regrets to the NTV and NBS crew whose independent work was unduly interfered with and suffered physical attack and property damage. That is not how we do things in Gulu; We will all get justice.

We want to wish every body a happy festive season, let us celebrate in peace, let us refrain from violence in this campaign. Let us spare resources for the next year. Education of our young people should be our focus in the New year. Let us also remember to vote and maintain leaders who will keep our interests on the contentious issue of land and education, livelihood empowerment, social services and culture among others. I love you all very much.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New year. May God Bless you richly next year.

–Betty Aol Ocan, Gulu Woman MP 2016.