It is possible to defeat NRM party, says Muntu


Q: What value do you bring to the Opposition?

A: We are a value-based party and that is our main focus. We know that before anything is done, what guides performance and what guides actions is the thinking behind the actions. As the Bible says that as a man thinks-so is he, whatever a man plants so shall he reap. That applies also to organisations.

The thinking in an organisation, the philosophy and the ideology, is what leads to the nature of actions that it produces. Q: ANT is recruiting mainly people from the Opposition. On this account, you are accused of dividing the Opposition.

A: The ones you are talking about are not even 10 per cent of the total recruitment we have

done.

Actually if you look at the total recruitment we have done, the overwhelming number are from the NRM party down at the grassroots level. We get people coming to our office on daily basis who have never belonged to any political party but who are coming to be candidates for our party at local council government level and at parliamentary level.

When we see that happening, it basically means our message is resonating with the people we are communicating to. When we ask them why they are joining our party, the majority of the responses are that the message of having a value-based party resonates with them.

It gives us a lot of courage and hope that the direction we have taken is the right one and that it is going to be the solution to the challenges in this country. Q: How many party flag bearers will ANT field countrywide for elective positions. How would you rate their quality and weight in political terms? What impact will they have in this election?

A: Our intention is to field 100 per cent, except in areas where we discuss with other Opposition parties and we choose not to field. To be honest, we are not yet able to measure the quality of our candidates, we should be able to measure that by around October. Q: When elected, what would you do in your first 100 days as President of Uganda?

A: We do not go by this measure, I don’t think it applies to our situation in Uganda. We will not operate by this measure. Q: In your view, what are Uganda’s main problems now? What are the solutions to these problems?

A: Uganda’s main problem is leadership. Consistently since 1962, we have had a conflict between theory and practice. Any political organisation which cracks this contradiction first, will become the solution to the challenges of this country. A political organisation with a leadership that walks the talk. They say something and they do it.

They tell you about democracy and the practice it. They tell you about equal opportunities and practice it. They put in place mechanisms and institutions that function for the people. And people can feel it and benefit from it, the moment that happens, that party will have cracked what all the others have failed to do. This is what we in ANT intend to achieve and by God’s grace, I believe we will be able to do so. Q: What is the centrepiece of your economic policy with regard to SMEs, tourism, agriculture and both regional and continental African trade?

A: The main focus is how to develop the individual because the individual is the core of what happens in any society. We want to make sure people are well educated, are well skilled in whatever area of endeavour.

He or she must be healthy, he needs to have access to the tools that he or she can put in use for self-development. In other words, we would like to offer a good environment in which the individual and society as a whole can thrive in whatever endeavour they are into, whether cooperatives or private enterprise. We will make sure there are necessary infrastructure to make this possible. Q: Do you regret your role in the (1981-1986) Bush War, given that the key objectives of that war that is democratisation of the country and the rule of law (-) has not been achieved? This is according to comments attributed to you and other key figures of that war?

A: No, I don’t, but the NRM lost track, that is why we are in the mess right now. That is why there is another struggle. Even for us, the moment we take power, if we lose track, a new struggle will inevitably start. People are wired in a way that they want justice, fairness, transparency, access to equal opportunity and democracy. And when you don’t have that in place, naturally, there will be a response from the people to demand it or organise to change the status quo that is oppressing them. It is a natural process. Q: As a former army commander, what is your view about Uganda’s intervention in regional conflicts in Rwanda, DR Congo, South Sudan and Somalia? What policies would you follow in this regard as head of state?

A: Not only Uganda’s leadership but the leadership of the other countries in the region will have to apply their minds to the fundamental question of building trust among themselves knowing that it is necessary if they are going to move their countries to the development path on a sustainable basis.

I would like to believe that all of them would like to develop in the best interest of their people. Now to develop, you must build the trust that you should not throw stones at each other because when you are throwing stones at each other, it diverts your attention from the development process into military preparations.

Resources get diverted from the development process into war and this is harmful to the people’s aspirations to live good decent lives. So there has to be a mindset shift in the leaders in this whole region. In Uganda, we intend to pursue peaceful coexistence and hope other leaders in the region follow our example. Q: You have been accused of weakening Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) driven by greed for power hence the formation for a new political organisation ANT.

A: FDC should be celebrating our departure because there are no internal fights anymore. I went through infighting in FDC for five years. I mean we had too different routes to the same destinations and we were fighting for the steering wheel of the vehicle. So we chose to leave the vehicle and we got ours. So we cannot blame anything on FDC if our vehicle malfunctions on the way. If FDC vehicle malfunctions, I really hope that they would not blame us. Q: Does Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) have what it takes to win the presidential election, form a government and govern the country?

A: National Unity Platform (NUP) has to work on all that because that is a challenge not only to NUP, it is a challenge for all of us who are in the Opposition. This is something we in the Opposition have to work towards.

What is your view about Dr Kizza Besigye’s possible presidential candidature in the 2021 General Election?

That is his individual choice, I don’t have any problem with that. The law does not prevent him from doing that. It is entirely his own decision. Q: What are the five things that the Opposition need to do to win State power?

A: Organise ourselves, ensure that we have got the necessary infrastructure to guard the vote.

Also mobilise the resources to back the candidates, but also we must get the candidates and then mount a fight because I can tell you we are not going to operate on a level ground. There will not be a level ground, we must fight in the conditions as they are and then change them. Q: What is your assessment of the strength and weakness of the Opposition?

A: The external factors which impede our operations is the regime, which is hostile. We must recognise that that is what it is, we cannot wish it away. We must work in spite of the impediments they put in our way. We also have to be disciplined and work round the clock to be able to overwhelm this repressive machinery. It is not an impossible task, it is possible. That is what we are systematically working on right now as ANT. Q: What message would you like to pass across to Ugandans?

A: We should not lose hope. This is our country, we are now 45 million people. In 25 years, are going to be 100 million people. We have got to work hard to put the necessary systems in place and make a firm foundation and basis on which 100 million can be fed, have access to good education, good healthcare and good roads and infrastructure.

There is more crisis ahead if we don’t do the necessary things now to prepare for the years ahead. Twenty-five years is just tomorrow.

Background

Gen Muntu was born in October 1958 in Ntungamo District. He attended Kitunga Primary School, Mbarara Junior School and Kitunga High School now Muntuyera High School.

He joined Makerere College School and later Makerere University where he got a degree in political science. In the early 1980s, he joined the National Resistance Army (NRA) rebels led by Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda.

After the NRA got into power, he headed the military intelligence before he went to Russia to further his military studies. He returned and commanded the 4th Division in northern Uganda, fighting against different rebel groups.

He was promoted from the rank of Colonel to Maj Gen skipping that of Brigadier. In 1989, he became the Army Commander. In 1997, he was dropped as the army commander and replaced by Gen Jeje Odongo.

After the opening of political parties, he joined Forum for Democratic Change. In 2008, he contested for the FDC’s presidency against Dr Kizza Besigye, but lost.

He tried in 2012 and won. In 2017, he lost to Mr Patrick Amuriat. He later quit the party and worked with other Opposition members to establish ANT party.

This article was published by Daily Monitor.

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