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Muntu, Timukunde: Is the role of Army officers in defeating Museveni overrated?


With President Yoweri Museveni slated to swear in for his sixth successive term next month, he will have led for a record 40 years by the next general election in 2026.

Unlike 2001, 2006, 20011 and 2016 where Rtd Col Kizza Besigye has always been Museveni’s main challenger, 2021 saw the emergence of a new player in Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine, overcoming numerous hurdles to emerge number two with 35% of the total vote.

What however stood out is that in the same race, there were three army Generals in Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Lt Gen Henry Timukunde and Maj Gen Gregg Mugisha Muntu.

Surprisingly, while Museveni won, General Muntu came a distant fourth, with Timukunde following behind with just about 60,000 and 50,000 votes, respectively.

But 2021 had not been the first time a military General had attempted to challenge the Museveni administration in an election.

In the previous Presidential election of 2016, Maj Gen Benon Biraaro, previously not so much known to the public, won many hearts by the precision with which he articulated matters against the incumbent regime.

Unfortunately, his oratory expertise didn’t yield anything more than just a few tens of thousands of the national vote.

The results would come as a blow for the proponents of a school of thought that it will only take a soldier to oust the current administration.

As for former Army Commander Muntu, there was a lot more to pick from his participation in the election.

Coming from Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), the biggest opposition political party at the time where he had been party president, his Alliance for National Transformation party (ANT) didn’t manage a single MP in the eleventh Parliament.

With Bobi Wine set to reign as leader of the country’s opposition, the public mindset on the probable post Museveni government is drastically expected to shift from a pro military one to a more civilian administration as is the case in the rest of the East African Countries of Kenya, Burundi and Tanzania.

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