By Ofwono Opondo
The curtain appears to have fallen on the bellicose Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) with the much long-awaited political divorce which exploded Wednesday this week. While we should take every political development very seriously, on the outset, Greg Mugisha Muntu-Oyera, looked more like a lame-duck, first with an apology, an angry tone at his first press conference, and an obscure name, New Formation.
Although Muntu intended to create suspense in differing the launch his political outfit by Christmas, going by the past eleven months since defeat at FDC polls, it is unlikely he pull any spectacular surprises, although NRM ignores these developments at its own peril.
Muntu’s departure, alongside Alice Alaso, and Kasiano Wadri among others, follows that of other founder leaders especially from Ankole like John Kazoora, Amanya Mushega, Augustine Ruzindana, Yona Kanyomozi, Garuga Musinguzi, Johnson Nkuhe, Winnie Babihuga, and Frank Nabwiso who felt strangulated and sidelined by the extremist faction controlled by Kizza Besigye. With their go-slow revolt, the shred left of FDC is a bunch of intolerant abusers who seem not to value compromise or constructive engagement.
Ugandans need to know that the world over, even in the most vibrant democracies, it is rare to have more than two leading political with sufficient clout. Usually, the third, fourth and fifth parties remain fringe outfits that perhaps cut electoral deals with the major two, and so, Muntu or anyone else who comes up with a political party will have to work really very hard. Our recent experiences with Bidandi Ssali, Amama Mbabazi, Jeema, and the limping DP, UPC and Jeema are testimony. Already Muntu has about twenty-nine FDC MPs who support him, in addition to political middle-roaders from other opposition groups and the NRM, seen as vultures unlikely to remain there for long.
Officially, Muntu said he quit FDC because the two tendencies of, “defiance” and building “organisational structures” failed to reconcile, but many believe that what really broke his back was the name-calling he has suffered especially being branded an NRM mole and a Munyarwanda. Before he became FDC president, Muntu was the national secretary for mobilization for nine years and therefore his footprint as a capable leader, organiser and mobiliser, ought to be visible. I personally doubt that Muntu has what it takes to scale the election heights.
Now those who have been sowing ‘defiance’ as political strategy to cause change like Kizza Besigye, Wasswa Birigwa, and Amuriat Oboi, perhaps didn’t know it would be applied on them pretty soon. The gods have answered their Tubalemese agitation, with Twelemese. The rumours that Muntu could team up with Bobi Wine, to whip up the youth platform, is welcome, but it is yet to be seen if Bobi, has the stratagem to cobble an enduring message for the long haul.
This split hopefully brings an end to abrasive conduct of the defiance wing. And although Muntu is appears measured and steady fast, he is not moderate as many people believe. In fact, he is an obstinate and inflexible fellow with streaks of intolerance once he takes a position.
Within FDC rank and file, Muntu will be presented as bad loser, because when Nandala Mafabi lost to him in 2012, he sulked but remained working for the party bidding his time until he was last year elected Secretary General.
Muntu on the other hand, although posturing as a great mobiliser has really nothing much to show because he was previously the national secretary for mobilization and party president during which FDC never registered success in his district of Ntungamo, or Ankole region. Alaso too, was Secretary General for ten years, and therefore, both should cry foul.
Many are cynical that FDC with Amuriat Oboi who was ousted from Kumi parliamentary seat where he had served three terms at its head will continue the downward spiral, more so, when he is seen more as Besigye’s sidekick, who neither has his own political money nor political program.
The fracas by FDC youths who stormed the meeting at Fairway hotel between Amuriat and Muntu appear preplanned, although given a veneer of a surprise. According to the script of the drama, Amuriat, his handlers and the youths, moved between Katonga, Sezibwa, and Najjanakumbi, which is evidence that FDC vigilantes premeditated to foil any compromise. They then led Amuriat out through the backyard to Najjanakumbi rejecting his plea to head to Besigye’s office on the nearby Katonga road. Those FDC youths ought to know that among other roles, their leaders are elected to reach out to Ugandans who disagree with FDC.
It is the same style that FDC youths used in 2015 to pluck Besigye out of The Democratic Alliance (TDA), a loose coalition of opposition forces where some politicians from Ankole calling themselves ‘eminent persons’ tried to play kingmakers to install Amama Mbabazi as joint candidate to challenge President Museveni.
Although Muntu claims that he keeps an ‘open door policy” to work with FDC and other ‘democracy seeking forces’ it is doubtable that a person, who failed to reconcile with a small internal group, can build convergence on a national scale.