35-Year-Old to Challenge Muntu for FDC Presidency

3863 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
FDC will hold elections to choose a new president in November this year, according to a roadmap released by the party last month. And Moses Byamugisha, the national mobiliser in the partys youth league, is optimistic that he will succeed General Muntu.

A 35-year-old man has declared his intentions to unseat Major General Mugisha Muntu as opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party president.

FDC will hold elections to choose a new president in November this year, according to a roadmap released by the party last month. And Moses Byamugisha, the national mobiliser in the party's youth league, is optimistic that he will succeed General Muntu.
  
He told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that he is ready to unite the party that many political observers believe is divided between "Mugisha Muntu's moderates and Kizza Besigye's extremists."
  
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Besigye, a four-time presidential candidate, has since 2005 galvanised opposition support by organising civil disobedience and sometimes confronting the state machinery to challenge the Museveni government. Besigye believes power cannot change hands by peaceful means, the reason he described his 2016 presidential race as a campaign of defiance. Muntu, on the other hand casts a figure of a gentleman-politician, believing in building party structures at the lowest levels before challenging for the top seat.
 
Though Byamugisha admits that the party is deeply divided, he argues that none of the disgruntled members has returned the party card and officially denounced FDC. He said all disgruntled party supporters are still FDC members and he will reach out to all of them.

Byamugisha said he believes in defiance campaign that was started by Dr Besigye, the party's flag bearer in 2016 presidential elections. He said he will intensify defiance within the party's top leadership.
  
"Defiance means resisting all those illegitimate government laws, plans and programmes to ensure that the Museveni regime is overthrown. I am a proud youth activist with in the defiance campaign," he said.
  
Byamugisha said he will start a conversation with the young people and inspire them to pick interest in politics.
  
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He said FDC's senior leaders are in the evenings of their time and they will retire from active politics in the coming years, meaning that young people must be ready to be in the party's driving seat.
  
However, Byamugisha has not developed a strategy to build party structures at grassroots. He says President Museveni is responsible for the weak party structures at grassroots. He argues that the NRM party has been bribing their leaders.

FDC deputy secretary general Harrold Kaija says the party welcomes Byamugisha's aspiration to be their president. He describes Byamugisha as a "well known party activist."

"In FDC, we don't have positions that are known to be for some people, we don't ring-fence positions like NRM and we don't stop young people from contesting for party senior positions," he said. "Let him come and convince party members to vote for him. If he is voted, he will be our president."

To contest within FDC, Kaija says, Byamugisha is taking the right step because many opposition party members have been running away from their parties to join the ruling NRM party. 
  
Profile
  
Byamugisha Moses hails from Rujumbura county, Rukungiri district, western Uganda. Aged 34, Byamugisha will turn 35 on May 28, 2017. He holds a diploma in law from Law Development Centre and a Bachelor of Laws from Uganda Christian University (UCU), Mukono. He says his father, Can. James Byarugaba who was a die-hard supporter - cum - mobiliser of Dr Kizza Besigye in 2001 inspired him to take interest in national politics.
  
"I became active in opposition politics during 2001 presidential elections campaigns. We joined as just young people who were excited about a new person challenging an establishment of President Museveni. We were excited to see that there is someone else going to be president," Byamugisha says.
  
He served as head prefect at Rukungiri Central Secondary School in 2003-2004.  In 2009, Byamugisha while pursuing a Bachelor of Laws degree at Uganda Christian University (UCU), he contested and lost the guild presidential elections. He would later serve as the UCU Law School president.
  
Byamugisha says he is a founding member of the FDC students union, an association that brings together party youth supporters in different universities. Currently, he is the national mobiliser in the party youth league. Apart from formal positions, he says he partakes in party work on daily basis.
  
Last year, he expressed interest in contesting for FDC's flag bearer presidential election race but later dropped out because he had not attained the mandatory age.