By Andrew Mwenda

Uganda’s highly respected columnist, Muniini Mulera, has quit the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC). One of the genuine believers in a liberal democratic dispensation for our country, Munini is also one of the founders of FDC in 2005. He has also been a member of its National Executive Committee.

There was no way a descent man like Mulera would have kept in FDC. He has been involved in politics purely in pursuit of values as opposed to the pursuit of power. But FDC has been captured by its radical extremist wing. These have turned the party away from its founding ideals (as a forum for the struggle for democracy) into a platform for the pursuit of power by one man, its presidential candidate for life, Dr. Kizza Besigye.

I always knew that Mulera was bound to quit a party that has turned its back on its founding ideals and embraced the pursuit of power for its own sake. FDC has not only embraced power as an end in itself. It has also adopted the most intolerant and uncouth work methods of blackmail, lies, slander by use of social media terrorism to force everyone to bend to its will.

In his insightful column in Daily Monitor today, Mulera says FDC has split into two ideological camps. One led by Besigye and his poodle (the adjective is mine) Patrick Amuriat. This faction made the removal of Museveni its singular objective “without evidence of preparations for managing power in a post Museveni period.”

Talking about the strategy of “defiance only” that the party has embraced under Amuriat, Mulera writes: “Interestingly this strategy reveals that FDC has become a party whose identity has merged with that of Yoweri Museveni… This strange marriage between FDC and Museveni’s person is such that the day Museveni ceases to be a factor, the FDC will have an acute identity crisis.”

I do not need to reproduce Mulera’s article in full. But if he posted it on social media he would be shocked by the vitriol with which his supposed allies in FDC would attack him, call him names and denounce him as a Museveni condom. For the radical extremist of FDC, Uganda has two positions: you are either with them or with Museveni.

This attitude has weakened the opposition in Uganda, created suspicions in its ranks and undermined the ability to build a broad front in defense of democracy and liberalism. All the enlightened voices of FDC like Augustine Ruzindana, Amanya Mushega, Richard Kaijuka, John Kazoora, etc quit the party a long time ago. Many others have remained inside but have been sidelined.

Even members of parliament like Abdul Katuntu, Morris Ogenga-Latigo, Ronald Reagan Okumu, Winnie Kiiza, Alice Alaso, Betty Anwar etc have gone silent, beaten and intimidated and often accused of being moles. FDC has become a party for anarchists, radical extremists, riffraffs, pimps, liars, cheats, bayaye, social media terrorism and goons.

I feel relieved that Mulera has stood up to this thuggery and quit FDC. The primary challenge we face is not the removal or Museveni but the expansion of democratic space for that liberalism and freedom can reign. Therefore the removal of Museveni is not an end but a means to an end, the end being liberal democracy. FDC seeks one thing, power. Democracy is only an argument they use to advance their cause. Congratulations Mulera. I owe you a beer!