By Francis Mwesigye
Ugandans today witnessed the launch of the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) in Kampala, the latest political party in Uganda, whose chief proponent is Rtd Maj.Gen. Mugisha Muntu.
While speaking at the launch Muntu said his party would involve itself in activities that transform Ugandans including contributing to all sectors such as education, agriculture, health as well as competing in politics in a bid to take over power from President Yoweri Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM).
Muntu, the National Coordinator of the party pledged that it would soon begin countrywide mobilisation campaigns as it seeks to capture the support of the masses, which now is within the armpits of the NRM which has established structures in the rural areas compared to parties in the opposition. This does the NRM better as 2021 general elections come nearer with the launch of campaigns expected mid next year.
Watching among the audience, as Muntu made the pledges were veteran politicians like; Amanya Mushega, Yona Kanyomozi, Prof. Morris Ogenga Latigo and senior counsel Prof. Frederick Ssempebwa, among other delegates, some invited from abroad. In attendance were also DP boss Norbert Mao, MP Robert Kyakulanyi of People Power.
To note is that ANT’s launch in Kampala today comes at the time when the opposition political parties are totally divided that they don’t have a joint plan of uprooting Museveni’s NRM from power, yet the latter seems to be growing stronger and stronger as Museveni goes around the country with his poverty eradication mobilisation tours, which opponents say are aimed at 2021 presidential election.
Analysts say that Muntu who broke away from the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), the party which he helped found, should have joined the Democratic Party (DP) which is second to FDC in terms of opposition strength instead of forming ANT which has added to the weakening of the opposition due to due sharing of sympathiers, thus giving the NRM an upper hand.
Muntu’s ANT also comes at the time when FDC’s former president Rtd. Col Dr. Kizza Besigye and Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine have emerged strong and popular as evidenced from their recent engagements with Ugandans, both in urban and some sections of rural districts. It’s unlikely that any candidate presented by ANT for 2021 presidential election will beat the two politicians who gained political support as individuals. Interestingly ANT comes at the time when some politicians like Dr. Abed Bwanika and Michael Mabike are urging Besigye to stand down for Bobi Wine come 2021 elections.
Muntu’s departure from the FDC as he stated was due to the antagonistic way leaders there approached issues, especially the street demos which he never liked. DP is more of a peaceful party that he should have joined to boost rather than weaken the opposition by founding ANT, the new kid on the block that has many mountains to climb.
Much as Muntu indicated he would work with other opposition political parties, all that is there to see is that the party wants to present its own candidate come 2021 presidential election and most probably it will be Muntu himself. Bwanika and Mabike are also likely to ask Muntu to stand down for Bobi Wine come 2021. The inner circle in the NRM is praying for the disorganization of the opposition to continue because in that way they would have clung to their votes as opposition shares theirs.
The puzzle now for ANT is whether to compete as a party to weaken the opposition or whether to join a coalition which has its own problems as regards the suitability of candidates at various levels of leadership. Watchers of events as they unfold in the opposition say they will remain weak and NRM will regain power again come 2021.