Maj Gen Gregory Mugisha Muntuyera, popularly known as Muntu, on Tuesday announced he was quitting Opposition party FDC over “irreconcilable differences,” and followed it up with an announcement on Thursday that a new political party will be ready in December. The venerable Empty Tin caught up with Gen Muntu for a tete-a-tete. Below is the excerpt from the fantasy interview.
Empty Tin: Congratulations, General. You are quitting FDC because you want to be a leader at all cost, right?
Muntu: No, no, no! That is a very twisted perception. I’m not greedy; I’m driven by desire to serve. I set out to work for democracy and a constructive change…
Empty Tin: You quit the army as soon as you were dropped from position of army commander.
Muntu: Because I had to join the struggle.
Empty Tin: Basically, you would have stayed with Museveni and UPDF if you had been maintained as commander and later CDF to this day, right?
Muntu: Maybe, but don’t forget I turned down an offer to serve in Cabinet.
Empty Tin: Alaso says your clique made the decision to leave FDC in 2015. At the time you were FDC president and you had just lost the ticket to be on the ballot as FDC flag bearer. Does this mean you…
Muntu: Let me speak for myself. I don’t know what context she used but I’ll speak for myself.
Empty Tin: On defiance, you seem to be averse to that approach of engaging against the regime.
Muntu: Yes, that’s true. A defiance that seeks to gain a few column inches in the newspaper is meaningless. What is most important in the struggle is gaining a footing in the grassroots.
Empty Tin: You were secretary for mobilisation and later president, but FDC never gained that grassroots footing. Did you neglect your job?
Muntu: I was being sabotaged from within. There was defiance from within.
Empty Tin: When you decided to join the NRA in Luweero, that was defiance too. Weren’t there better ways?
Muntu: Election was massively rigged and the only alternative was the use of force. It worked.
Empty Tin: In 2016, to quote you, “the logical thing to have done after we had been cheated in the 2016 general elections…” Let’s put emphasis on ‘cheated.’ So was defiance necessary?
Muntu: Not without proper grassroots structure.
Empty Tin: You admitted on Thursday that you were in touch with Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, for a possible alliance?
Muntu: That’s true. The struggle is not for one man, not for Muntu alone. It is for everyone. Even as we leave FDC, we remain open to healthy working relations. A united Opposition will defeat Museveni.
Empty Tin: Strange that you talk about a united Opposition by dividing the same, but let’s leave that for now. How will you join hands with Bobi Wine yet he is the face of the radical-looking ‘People Power’?
Muntu: People Power is not radical.
Empty Tin: I was quoting Andrew Mwenda.
Muntu: You’re talking to Muntu.
Empty Tin: So People Power is kind of defiance and Muntu is averse to defiance...
Muntu: Well, I am not averse to defiance. Just that Besigye’s and Amuriat’s defiance is not my type.
Empty Tin: You said you are for a healthy united Opposition. What happens if FDC disbands and all the members come to join New Formation?
Muntu: They are welcome.
Empty Tin: But that will mean Besigye leading again.
Muntu: There is a limit to how much a General can tolerate walking behind a Colonel. Besigye is welcome to subscribe to our principles.
Empty Tin: So will you embrace defiance under the People Power banner?
Muntu: Why are you hell-bent on pushing defiance in this interview?
Empty Tin: Because of that day you tried one…
Muntu: When I joined the Bush War it wasn’t defiance, it was a force of arm.
Empty Tin: Not Bush War, you joined walk-to-work on May 5, 2011, but while other Opposition leaders were arrested, a policeman was busy saluting you on the street.
Muntu: Blame the photographer for taking a picture he shouldn’t have.
Empty Tin: How?
Muntu: Why salute me but arrest the others? It made me look like a mole. These people even arrest Munyagwa but are busy saluting me. Can you imagine they arrest Munyagwa and beat up Zaake, making them look like they have more clout than Gen Muntu?