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2021 presidential election: Muntu’s path

Former army commander Maj Gen (Rtd) Gregory Mugisha Muntu is the official 2021 presidential election flag bearer for the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT).

Just over a year old, ANT is Uganda’s youngest political party.

Muntu was until recently its national coordinator but stepped down to seek the party’s nomination.

After losing to Patrick Oboi Amuriat in the election for Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in 2017, Muntu chose to leave Uganda’s largest opposition political party.

By the time he left, ‘radical’ FDC members had labelled him a mole for President Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) party.

His disagreement with FDC had roots in differences in strategy.  

One group, that included opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye, pushed for a defiance plan, including protests.

But the Muntu faction wanted the FDC to concentrate on building structures and sanitising Uganda’s political culture.

After Muntu’s 2017 defeat, he quit the party alongside former Secretary General Alice Alaso and ex-FDC elections boss Dan Mugarura.

MUNTU ANT TICKET

On July 01, Mugarura announced Muntu, a former FDC president, as ANT flag bearer.

Muntu had previously lost to Besigye in the race for FDC presidential ticket. Both Muntu and Besigye are former Museveni allies and ex-bush war comrades.

Muntu now has a chance at challenging Museveni.

Mugarura dismissed claims that the party’s leadership had reserved the ANT ticket for Muntu.

“How do you ring fence when you have advertised? We put the exercise in the print and even the electronic media,” Mugarura said.

“The one who picked nomination forms is General Muntu and the one who is returning is General Muntu. [Other] people didn’t pick the forms.”

Muntu said he would have loved competition for the party flag.

He believes the party’s success will depend on “the strength of the systems and institutions.”

“That’s the path that we intend to walk. We may not shout the loudest. Some people may certainly blame us for being slow,” he said.

“But we are deliberate, focused and purposeful. With the passage of time, this will be self-evident.”

Muntu is not even pushing for a possible boycott of elections.

The party has already made suggestions for town hall meetings after the Electoral Commission banned campaign rallies in its revised road map.

Muntu recently opted out of the United Forces of Change opposition alliance for the ‘No, Nedda Campaign.

“I have chosen the more difficult path of mobilizing and organizing the population democratically over violent rebellion,” he said recently.

“While violence might help attain power, it erodes the ability to establish democracy. Museveni is proof of that.”

MUNTU AND ANT POSITION ON 2021 JOINT OPPOSITION PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

As he accepted nomination as ANT flag bearer, he made it clear the party will prepare for the best and worst scenarios regarding an alliance.

“It is desirable to have one candidate and we all need to work for that,” he noted.

Muntu revealed that ANT has held talks with Democratic Party (DP), Justice Forum (Jeema) and People Power on a possible coalition.

“Cooperation must be beyond the method because having a single candidate or not is a method; it’s a vehicle towards achieving something,” he explained.

“As ANT we believe in having a single candidate but we are not emotional people.”

He thinks that putting emotion above reason is what failed previous attempts at an opposition alliance.

He added that if political players are “mature enough and disciplined,” it is possible for all opposition groups to front candidates but cooperate.

Muntu’s joins the list of over 40 Ugandans who has expressed interest in running for Uganda’s top seat.

One the same day Muntu received the ANT ticket, another aspirant, Pastor Joseph Kabuleta, joined the race to challenge Museveni.

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