Prominent Ugandan journalist Andrew Mwenda has said the disintegration in the opposition Forum for Democratic Change was an obvious case only waiting for the opportune moment to materialize.
Mr. Mwenda, in a social media statement on Saturday, said majority of FDC MPs are leaving the party to form their own political platform after being sidelined and blackmailed by their own radical members.
“My predictions have finally come true. FDC is breaking up, 22 out of its 36 members of parliament are quitting to form a new political party. And these 22 are the most enlightened individuals in FDC,” he said.
He noted that the dissenting FDC legislators are going formally leave in 2020 when the law allows them to cross the floor.
“Initially, they will present the party as a pressure group to avoid the requirement of returning to their constituencies to seek a new mandate. However one year to the 2021 elections they will launch the party and it has potential to become the second largest political party in parliament. It will be led by Mugisha Muntu.”
Gen Muntu has since replaced FDC symbols and slogan ‘One Uganda, one people’ with “Country before self.”
Several MPs have since criticized the radicalism taking root in the party.
According to Mwenda, the biggest opposition party has for long been held hostage by “radical” members religiously subscribed to its founder Dr. Kizza Besigye.
“For two years now, I have argued on this platform that FDC has been captured by an intolerant, anti-democratic and very uncouth faction of radical extremists led by opposition presidential candidate for life, Dr. Kizza Besigye,” he remarked.
He accused the radical members of FDC for employing politics of blackmail and intimidation.
“These radical extremists believe in a politics of blackmail, insults, lies and intimidation to get their way. They represent a worse alternative to President Yoweri Museveni’s politics of corruption and patronage.”
He observed that FDC only focused on consolidating the already bagged base at the expense of creating new frontiers.
A hardened combatant who fled to the bush to join the ranks of NRA guerrillas at a tender age, Muntu appeals to the youthful generation and the so-called silent majority.
In the 2011 elections, there were 13.95 million registered voters, but only 8.2m turned out to vote. In 2016, out of 15,277,198 registered voters, only 9,701,738 voted, representing 63.50 per cent turnout.
This means 5,575,460 voters stayed away from the elections.
If this silent majority can be rallied by Muntu to throw its weight behind him, the former FDC leader stands a high chance of isolating Besigye and challenging Museveni’s hold onto power.
Due to voter apathy in the country, Mr Museveni’s win with 5,617,503 votes in the 2016 election represented only 36.77 per cent of all the registered voters.
Dr Besigye’s 3,270,290 votes translated into only 21.41 per cent.
Many believe Muntu appeals to most of the sober quarters; international community, regional, local population and his leadership would make some people in NRM comfortable.
He is seen as a guarantee of peace in post-Museveni era.”
Muntu remains tight lipped on his next steps which he says will be shaped by the outcome of his countrywide consultations.
But his recent media interviews have painted a picture of a frustrated and betrayed leader who can no longer stomach a politically calculated smear campaign unleashed by the pro Besigye radical wing.
In his recent press conference, Gen Muntu admitted there were “significant, undeniable issues and differences that exist within the party.”
Mwenda said it was clear from the word go that FDC’s “politics of terror and destruction” can “solidify the base” but it “would not grow it”, adding, “Instead it alienates moderates, liberals, independents and many other democratic minded people even inside the NRM who would like to see qualitative change in the politics of the country.”
The journalist concluded: “I am happy to announce that the breakup of the FDC has finally arrived. The radical extremists and their cult leader are going to get increasingly exposed for being who they really are – an intolerant, uncouth and anti-democratic cable of hooligans who must be fought before they put their fingers on our nation’s throat.”
In the Arua Municipality elections, Muntu is supporting Kassiano Wadri, an Independent Candidate.