By Andrew Irumba
The electoral commission on Tuesday officially cleared Rtd. Gen.Gregory Mugisha Muntu’s new political party, “Alliance for National Transformation” (ANT).
In a statement released on Tuesday by the new party’s convener, Hon Alice Alaso, who is the former FDC secretary General and also among the first people who crossed with Muntu said the party was now going to make arrangements for the official launch, though she remained silent on the date and venue the event would take place.
“I’m happy to communicate that today, the 19th of March 2019, pursuant to our efforts over the past several months, the Electoral Commission (EC) has cleared the establishment of our Political Party, the ‘Alliance for National Transformation’. The next phase is the gazetting of the same, which we expect will be done in the next few weeks. With this clearance, we are now in position to make arrangements for the official launch. The date, venue and time for the official launch will be communicated soon. In the meantime, we would like to thank all of you that have supported and contributed to the process that has brought us this far,” said Alaso in a statement.
The ‘New Formation’ was founded by Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu after he quit his former party, Forum For Democratic Change (FDC) late in September 2018.
Muntu has since been recruiting new members for the party which he said would be inclusive.
In September 2018, Muntu told a news conference at Hotel Africana that unlike other political parties which have previously been formed along religious and ethnic lines as well as around individuals, his new party is based on deep ideological reflection, clear policy positions and consultations.
But Who Is Muntu?
Gregory Mugisha Muntuyera, commonly referred to as Mugisha Muntu is a Ugandan politician and retired military officer, born at Kitunga village in present-day Ntungamo District, Ankole sub-region, Western Uganda. He was born in October 1958 to Enock Ruzima Muntuyera and Aida Matama Muntuyera.
He had an affluent childhood as his father was a strong government functionary and close friend of Ugandan leader Milton Obote. He attended Mbarara Junior School, Kitunga Primary School and Kitunga High School. (Kitunga High School was later renamed Muntuyera High School, in memory of his father, by Obote.) Muntu attended Makerere College School and subsequently went on to graduate in political science from Makerere University, where he was deputy president of the students union.
He served as the Commander of the Army, the highest position in the Ugandan military, from 1989 to 1998. When the National Resistance Army was renamed the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), General Muntu became Commander of the UPDF.
Muntu was a member of the constituent assembly (1994–1995) and parliamentarian. After disagreeing with Museveni’s approach to politics and the military, he was removed from the army command and appointed as a minister, a position he politely turned down. In November 2001, he was selected by the members of the Ugandan Parliament to serve as one of the nine Ugandan representatives to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), after officially joining the strongest opposition party, FDC.
In 2008, he unsuccessfully contested for the FDC’s party presidency against Rtd.Col.Dr.Kizza Besigye. He was elected as party president in 2012 to 2017.
In September 2018, General Muntu parted ways with the FDC citing ideological differences with the new FDC leadership of Hon.Patrick Oboi Amuriat aka POA.
Muntu joined the guerrilla National Resistance Army (NRA) of Yoweri Museveni the day he completed his university exams, to the chagrin of his family and President Obote, who considered him a son. Early into the rebellion he was shot in the chest but survived after receiving treatment in Kampala. Later he emerged as the head of Military Intelligence after the NRA victory in 1986.
In military intelligence he had under his command personalities like Paul Kagame, who would later become the President of Rwanda.
Muntu underwent further military training in Russia before becoming a division commander in Northern Uganda. He rose to the rank of Major General within the UPDF. His rapid promotion did not go unnoticed by other senior officers in the Ugandan military. He was later to serve as Commander of the UPDF. That post was later renamed Chief of Defence Forces of Uganda. As army chief, he oversaw the demobilization of many sections of the army.
Observers have attributed Maj. Gen. Muntu’s quick ascension to the pinnacle of the NRA/UPDF to his reputation as an incorruptible and loyal officer to the President of Uganda. This loyalty was rewarded by the support of the President during Muntu’s many quarrels with sections of the army which accused him of trying to alienate them. Prominent among these were the so-called ‘uneducated’ officers, led by Major General James Kazini. Muntu was accused of creating a schism within the army by showing preferential treatment to educated officers while sidelining those he considered uneducated.
Since 1992, Muntu has been married to Julia Kakonge Muntu. They are the parents of one son, born in 1993, and one daughter, born in 1996.