The Alliance for National transformation-ANT, Uganda’s youngest political party is scheduled to conduct nominations for its presidential candidates on Wednesday and Thursday. Uganda Radio Network spoke to the party founder Rtd. Maj. Gen. Gregory Mugisha Muntu in an exclusive interview highlighting a number of issues on the plate ahead of the 2021 General Elections.
URN: What has ANT been up to?
After establishing leadership structures at National, Regional and District levels, we proceeded to create 21 sub-regions all over the country to ensure that we go down to the village level, hence organize elections from the village upwards. Unfortunately, COVID-19 cut our plans short.
URN: And now? We agreed that the interim party leadership can continue with its interim work focusing on the immediate situation of engaging in the 2021 elections, after which we shall turn back to the immediate long term program to build ANT with a firm foundation.
URN: How prepared are you for the 2021 elections?Pretty well. We are now ensuring that we field candidates at all levels mainly concentrating on councillors, LCIII, LCV, and LC3-Chairpersons, Townships mayors and cities and members of parliament. As we embark on the mobilization of resources to back up our candidates.
URN: Any plans for delegates’ conference?We were supposed to have a delegates’ conference in June, but again we failed and shifted it to August 6, 2020, during which we will elect the presidential flag bearer.
URN: You recently resigned from the position of ANT National Coordinator. Why?Our constitution stipulates that the party chairperson can’t run for any elective office. Your concentration must be on building the party, brand it, mobilize resources to support candidates. So as a National Coordinator, I had to resign as I prepare to contest for party presidential ‘flagbearer-ship’.
URN: Do you think lack of such mechanisms in the NRM affects its internal democracy?The NRM really is an institution built around an individual. The moment Gen. Museveni is out of power; it will simply collapse.
URN: When are the nominations taking place?This week Wednesday and Thursday (1st and 2nd July 2020).
URN: Does this mean ANT is totally out of any possible negotiations for an opposition coalition?Not really, once we get a flag bearer, ANT will continue engaging in processes with other opposition forces working on a possibility of either building a coalition or having a framework for cooperation.
URN: Do you think fielding a joint opposition candidate is a possible dream?It’s one of the options that we should work towards. However, we must be aware that anything that we do including having one flag bearer is not the main objective. It’s a tool for enabling us to fulfill the objectives we’d have set for ourselves. Hopefully, we learn from our past mistakes like during the-Transformation for Democratic Alliance-TDA.
URN: What makes you feel so confident that you are ready for the presidency?Because we studied the ground, made analysis, I see the vulnerability of the regime and now I know the system. I know that Majority people want change.
URN: Are you an advocate for electoral reforms? Yeah, I have been pushing for them but the regime has always manipulated our efforts. The last time we pushed them harder they sarcastically added the word independent to the EC name. It’s not the word we wanted, it’s the meaning of the word.
URN: What’s wrong with defiance? I have no problem with defiance. We wanted to keep on one path because we don’t want to divide attention. Many of us know that defiance has no problem it is a legitimate tool for struggle but we chose to take the route of building party institutions to help us oust the regime and manage power.
URN: Do you think Museveni wants to die in power? I think he is not ready to relinquish power.
URN: What is he ready to do? You can psychologically see that the is not thinking about stepping aside. No signs of him trying to manage a transition. I don’t even think he has a succession plan.
URN: What are the key ANT policy alternatives? Re-orienting the education system which is at the core of the development process of the country. if you’ve got a highly educated and skilled human resource, you can develop just like Japan and Singapore. Others are Health, Agriculture, infrastructure, water and energy provision just to mention but a few.
URN: Do you think the Army has any confidence in you and you can count on their support?You don’t have to have their support, but you have to operate in a way that they are not hostile to you as an organization and vice versa. In such a way that they can trust that you have the capability as an organization not only to take power to manage it responsibly.
URN: How do you assess the 34-year NRM rule? They have built on quick sand. Because of all these achievements, the roads, the buildings, the dams, Libya, Yugoslavia, and Iraq all had them even in a more advanced state than ours.
URN: So what is the way out?It’s only until you resolve the issue of governance until you resolve the issue of a smooth transition, whatever is seen now, one can’t assume that it will survive the danger of an implosion.