Muntu not to blame for FDC’s past electoral losses

Saturday April 4 2015

I totally disagree with the argument in the lead story in The EastAfrican issue of March 28 entitled The Muntu enigma may cost FDC the presidency a third time. Blaming Mugisha Muntu for the past losses is irresponsible.

From the outset, let me state that it is proper for the Forum DC to be criticised, as this will help us improve the organisation, but it is wrong for facts to be blatantly ignored or distorted.

The facts are that Muntu was not the FDC presidential candidate when the party lost in 2005 and 2011. Neither was he the party president.

After the last election, the party spent a whole year resolving the post-election conflict. We consider this conflict resolved. The FDC cannot make the retrogressive step away from internal democracy to a sole candidature or sole vision bearer.

The party has trained its leaders countrywide, adopted a strategic plan, reconstituted the secretariat, held rallies and talk show.

The current focus of the party is organisational, leadership development and candidate identification. We are also involved in the free and fair election campaign with other parties and civil society.

The approach of the party is transparent and participatory. We consider those areas as critical to resolving some internal issues in the party.

In the 2011 elections, we had problems getting candidates in some parts of the country. Our focus now is to handle these challenges.

So, how is the Muntu enigma denying the FDC the presidency a third time? We don’t see it in his intentions as party leader and not in the methods we use.

Even when we lost in 2005 and 2011, there were very credible reports by both local and international observers about the conduct and outcome those elections.

There was also a Supreme Court ruling which clearly highlighted the fraudulent conduct of those elections. A balanced story would have pointed out that it was neither a Kizza Besigye nor a Muntu failure.

To ignore this fact and blame the FDC and now Muntu is, to say the least, dishonest. As a party we are alive to the current political environment and are trying hard not to despair.

Moreover, we believe that it is critical that we organise better internally and partner with others to change the external environment.

That is why the FDC is committed to the free and fair election campaign, interparty dialogue, activism, interparty cooperation on a project-by-project basis and internal party development.

We launched a policy agenda that has disarmed our critics and got positive reviews countrywide.

Perhaps it would have been fair to comment on our policy commitment to invest in people, build economic infrastructure and regional and security frameworks. Are these bad or good intentions?

Unfortunately, the reporter majored in discounting the very excellent organisation at Serena Hotel and miscounting the numbers in Nakivubo.

They were more than 200, because the tent alone had 200 chairs, in the pavilion sat more than 100 and those next to the stage were more. At our second public event in Iganga, which was also blessed with rain, we had a mammoth crowd. Your reporter dared not mention it.

In politics, crowds are very important for morale boosting, but good organisation is better in translating crowds into believers who will not be bought off and or intimidated Ugandan-style.

For the public launches, we will talk to crowds, individuals, and handfuls till Ugandans, low and high; urban and rural; rich and poor; start to associate the FDC with these ideals.

This month, the FDC will conduct grassroots elections for its committees.

Muntu is certainly not the enigma. We are charting a way out of the challenges that have confronted the party. FDC is also a victim of the broader dictatorial political environment in Uganda and this should not be disregarded.

Alaso Alice Asianut
Secretary General FDC

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