Uganda: Who Is Who in Gen Muntu’s New Party?

Kampala — The Electoral Commission (EC) on Thursday declared the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) the newest political party in Uganda.

The delivery of the certificate by Mr Dan Mugarura, one of the new party’s promoters, sent into ecstatic celebration some of the party’s top brass and regional promoters gathered for the monthly planning meeting at ANT’s headquarters at Bukoto, a suburb of Kampala.

The credential, duly signed by Electoral Commission secretary Sam Rwakojo, now brings to 29 the number of registered political parties in the country.

But sources say at the moment, the party does not have an elected leadership, but is only being run by an interim core team of enthusiastic supporters.

The players

But this interim leadership does not comprise some of the traditional structured positions in political parties. For now, it has no party president, secretary general, national treasurer, spokesperson, and secretary for mobilisation, among others.

So who are faces driving Gen Muntu’s new party?

Gen Mugisha Muntu

At the ANT headquarters, Gen Muntu who led the trek out of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) in September last year to form a new party, is referred to as “one of the national coordinators.” He does not hold supreme sway over the party.

Gen Muntu’, who is the immediate former FDC president from 2012 to 2016, also worked as the FDC party secretary for mobilisation. He was also former Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF).

Gen Muntu has been attending meetings and being one of the brains behind decisions by the Opposition political parties ever since he quit FDC. He was part of the Opposition parties’ leaders who in October last year laid out a set of pre-conditions for conveners of the National Dialogue before they are able to move along.

Ms Alice Alaso

Her position at the ANT headquarters is that of convener. Some of the members say she is the overseer of the new party, a position that is similar to that of a secretary general. The former Serere Woman Member of Parliament moved with Gen Muntu out of Najjanankumbi (FDC headquarters) where she was secretary general before being replaced by Budadiri West MP Nandala Mafabi in 2016.

Alaso chairs most of the meetings organised by ANT party promoters. She also currently speaks for the party.

Mr Yokasi Bihande

The former MP for the Bukonzo East constituency in Kasese District is the interim chairman of the new party. Mr Bihande is the husband of Kasese Woman MP and former Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Ms Winfred Kiiza. He has been chairing top brass meetings of ANT, and together with Mr Mugarura and Ms Alaso, have been chasing the party registration certification by EC.

Before coming to Parliament in 2007 through a by-election, Mr Bihande had served as the Kasese District Council chairman from 1996 to 2006.

Mr Dan Mugarura

He is the former chairman of electoral commission of the FDC party. Mr Mugarura moved out of Najjanankumbi with Gen Muntu despite being the man that organised the party elections which Mr Patrick Amuriat Oboi won at the Mandela National Stadium, Namboole in November 2016.

Mr Mugarura’s position at ANT is that of national promoter. In fact, there are several promoters at the national level but for his case, chasing registration of the party was one of the key assignments handed to him when he crossed from Najjanankumbi to Bukoto.

Mr Wilberforce Seriazi

He is a lawyer based in Kampala. Mr Seriazi is one of the national promoters of ANT and his assignment is to manage the legal processes of the new party. He was one of the brains behind drafting the Constitution and all the paper work needed for registering the party.

Mr Seriazi was one of the active members of the FDC, and has worked alongside Ms Alaso to convene key meetings of ANT promoters, including overseeing press conferences.

Sheikh Muhammad A. Katuramu

He is the former secretary for Ethics and Integrity in the FDC party. He is a known mobiliser from Masindi District in Western Uganda.

Mr Katuramu is one of those people who put their hearts out to support Gen Muntu in his bid for re-election as FDC president.

A man known to be a devout believer in Gen Muntu’s strategy of building structures instead of defiance, Mr Katuramu was one of the people present at the party headquarters to receive the long-awaited registration certificate on Thursday.

Mr Stephen Ochola

One of the promoters of the party. He is the former MP for Serere County in Serere District on FDC ticket. He lost his bid to return in the 10th Parliament to NRM’s Patrick Okabe. He has been on the recruitment and mobilisation drive in eastern Uganda, especially in the Teso Sub-region.

Sources close to the party say he is one of Gen Muntu’s trusted troops and was with him at Fairway Hotel on September 25, 2018, during a meeting with FDC president Mr Amuriat. The meeting, which was disrupted by FDC youth who pulled Mr Amuriat out, was intended to disseminate a report Gen Muntu had compiled from his nearly one-year countrywide consultation.

Mr Iddi Ouma

He is the former chairman of the FDC national youth league. Mr Ouma was sacked by the Najjanankumbi-based party in what was seen as a way of punishing him for moving with Gen Muntu. He has since sued the FDC party, claiming he was dismissed illegally.

Mr Ouma asserts that he was elected on July 18, 2015, in a poll conducted by the party’s electoral commission chairperson Dan Mugarura, and served for three years.

He has moved with Ms Zerinda Kakai, the Youth League vice chairperson for Eastern region, and Mr Ismail Kasule, who is one of the members of the executive. Mr Kasule comes from Hoima District.

Ms Mary Francis Kabateraine

She is the director of Kabateraine Memorial School, one of the famous private institutions in Mbarara District.

Ms Kabateraine has been a staunch mobiliser for the FDC in Ankole Sub-region. Some sources say she is one of the promoters of ANT and part of the local funders.

Pauline Namagembe

She is the former FDC party candidate for the Wakiso woman MP seat. She lost in a hotly contested race to Ms Rosemary Seninde (NRM), the current State minister for Primary Education. She is one of the national promoters of the ANT. She has represented the party at different political meetings even before the EC registered it.

Dr Munini Mulera

He is known to many Ugandans because of his elaborate write-ups, including a weekly column, Letter to a Kampala Friend, in the Daily Monitor.

Sources close to top leaders of ANT say Dr Mulera, who is consultant paediatrician and neonatologist based in Toronto, Canada, is the head of the party’s diaspora council. The council has already been launched and it includes promoters in Europe and North America.

Forced to escape from Uganda in August 1977 during the brutal Idi Amin regime, before completing his medical internship, Dr Mulera became a refugee in Kenya and is now said to be mobilising Ugandans in the diaspora to support the new party.

What is going on in the party?

A lot being done: On Thursday, Ms Alice Alaso, the overseer of the party, told Saturday Monitor that a lot of things are being done to put ANT in good shape.

One of the ongoing activities since Gen Muntu and the team left FDC in September last year is the recruitment of members using the web portal

“We have been recruiting members who voluntarily join us through the online platforms and others have been coming to us at the headquarters in Kampala,” she said.

The launch. Ms Alaso said now that the party has been registered, the interim leadership is going to finalise plans to launch the party in the next two months.

The initial plan to launch the party was before Christmas of 2018, but the long processes by the EC to have it registered hampered preparations.

Our sources say the venue of the launch has been booked and it will happen in the third week of May although Ms Alaso declined to commit to that during the interview.

But Ms Alaso said: “As a legally registered party, we can now transact business with anyone in this country. We can now hold rallies anywhere in the country and we are even free to constitute a national delegates conference.”

Trainings. Since last year, the promoters of ANT have been conducting a series of trainings for the regional and district promoters. When Gen Muntu made a declaration to quit FDC during a press conference at Hotel Africana in Kampala on September 27, 2018, he was flanked by several chairpersons of FDC from districts across the country. These and many others have been trained on how to unpack the message from ANT in their respective districts before and after the launch.

Party symbols. Much as the party colour has been revealed as purple, the symbols and the slogan remain a closely guarded secret that will only be unveiled at the launch. Some of the promoters and supporters currently holding elective leadership positions, most of them being MPs, have been playing a silent role in organising ANT.

Dress code. One of the MPs close to the party told this newspaper that while in Parliament, those identifying with ANT have agreed on a dress code on some of the days.

“On Tuesday most of the members who support ANT ensure part of their dress has a red colour to identify with the forces of change that opposed the removal of presidential age limit. And on Thursday, we ensure that we have a purple colour to show our support to ANT,” the source claimed.

Illegal. Politicians in active elective positions are legally not allowed to declare their support to a political party on whose ticket they were not elected at least until one year to the next general election.


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Publish date : 2019-04-27 07:34:31

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