I have been greatly honoured to be an active member of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) since its inception thirteen years ago. During part of that period, I have served as a member of the National Executive Committee, the National Council, the National Delegates Conference and External Envoy to Canada.

From the FDC leaders’ meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa in June 2005 to the National Delegates Conference at Namboole, Kampala in November 2017, I have become very well acquainted with the hopes, vision and culture of a party that I believed had the capacity to be the catalyst for genuine transformation of our country’s politics and the birth of a just society.

I have met and come to know very many men and women whose commitment and passion for change have given me great hope that all is not lost for our fractured and deeply injured homeland. I salute and honour all of them.

I especially honour our colleagues who have died in the last 13 years. I am challenged and humbled by the memory of those who have been killed by armed state agents on the streets and elsewhere while exercising their human rights of assembly and protest.

I honour two men who have played a distinguished role in our struggle for democracy. Dr. Kizza Besigye’s extraordinary courage and resilience in the face of extreme physical and psychological suffering at the hands of vicious regime enforcers places him in the number one spot on the honor roll of those who have challenged the personalised rule of President Yoweri Museveni. Besigye’s preeminent role in Uganda’s second struggle for democracy and the founding and growth of FDC cannot be erased by time or history.

Mr. Mugisha Muntu, a man of great courage and scrupulous fidelity to genuine democracy, all-round integrity and institution-based leadership, sits beside Besigye on the above honor roll. Underneath Muntu’s quiet and humble demeanor lies a heart of steel. His remarkable achievement of keeping a very divided party together during his presidency, revealed possession of a skill set that qualifies him to lead our difficult and divided country. Muntu’s greatest and most admirable quality has been his consistency in what he has stood for, what he has said, what he has done and how he has lived throughout his political career.

Throughout my years in FDC, I have been an unwavering advocate for building a democratic party, founded on a clear ideology, with common objectives, institution-based governance and shared core principles and values.  I have advocated the promotion and toleration of diverse opinions and choices and a complete rejection of personalised leadership. I have tried to promote respectful disagreement and truth telling as foundational practices in healthy competition.

As is the case in any active political party, there have been occasions where I have strongly disagreed with decisions and actions by the party and/or its leaders. However, I have not had any serious reason to reassess my membership in the FDC until the National Delegates Conference of November 2017. That conference made a very clear decision to pursue a political strategy that was diagonally opposed to my core beliefs.

In recent years, two alternative strategies for achieving change in Uganda have emerged within the FDC. One posits that Museveni’s militarism must be met with militancy on the streets. This militancy has been further fuelled by the view that Dr. Besigye’s election as president of Uganda in 2016 must be consummated. A mass physical defiance movement, led by “the people’s president”, is an avenue towards this goal.

Interestingly, this strategy reveals that the FDC has become a party whose identity has merged with that of Yoweri Museveni. The broader vision and goals upon which we founded the party have become subordinated to a singular pursuit of Museveni’s removal from office, without evidence of preparations for managing power in the post-Museveni period. This strange marriage between the FDC and Museveni’s person is such that the day the latter ceases to be a factor, the FDC may well have an acute identity crisis.

The alternative strategy advocates a dual approach. While acknowledging peaceful street defiance as an effective tool for resistance, the advocates of this strategy believe that  building a well-organized party, whose fortunes are not tied to an individual but are founded on very strong institutions, is the critical step in the struggle for change in Uganda. They caution against any defiance activities that could, once again, land Uganda in bloodshed. They believe that both strategies can and should work side by side, but in a coordinated way.

The singular strategy of street defiance until installation of the “people’s president” was eloquently championed by Mr. Patrick Oboi Amuriat during his campaign for the presidency of FDC.  The dual strategy was eloquently championed by Mr. Muntu in his campaign for re-election as party president.

The two strategies were put to the test at Namboole. I was a delegate at that conference. Mr. Amuriat was overwhelmingly elected party president, with the brief to pursue the singular agenda of defiance. I supported the dual strategy approach.

Unfortunately, the inability to reconcile these differing strategies has created heightened infighting and a very toxic internal environment that has made it very difficult to find a common path towards our main purpose and objectives. With the two tendencies at war, and with no room for me in the “defiance only strategy”, I have hit a dead end in FDC.

After nine months of soul searching and reviewing my long journey in Uganda’s struggle for genuine democracy, I find that the party and I are too far apart to repair the rift. I have therefore made a choice to resign from the Forum for Democratic Change.

However, I remain as committed as ever to the greater struggle that is my obligation to pursue to the end of my days. It is a struggle that recognises that our agenda must not be to capture power for its sake. It has to be purposed on effecting a sustainable, transformative change of the political culture and a reset of the mindset in a country that has been corrupted to its core.

I wish the leaders and members of FDC the very best in their work. I pray that they recognize the responsibility they carry as the largest and most influential opposition party in our country. I hope that they return to our tradition of positive and respectful response to criticism, differences of opinion and choice. My solidarity with them on the core values of our shared struggle remains.



7 Responses to “Why I have resigned from the Forum for Democratic Change”

  1. Avatar
    Akampa Mukuve

    Dr. Mulera, it is very sad that you have had to depart with the FDC. You could not have put any more eloquently and clearly the current status of our party and its challenges. As a young doctor also with a penchant for politics, I have ardently followed your contribution to the cause for a long time. I therefore respect and admire your decision. I hope you keep your foot on the pedal of nation building. That is what matters.

  2. Avatar
    Karamuzi Alex

    Mr. Munini, your submission is 100% correct, though you don’t need to resign. Of recent, I have been asking myself very many questions that, where are the elders in FDC. Why can’t you elders call for a truth and reconciliation dialogue between factions in your party and heal the differences.
    You started the party on a firm and promising foundation, don’t leave it to die a natural death when you are still alive. As you know, in my principles; ‘Winners never quit and quiters never win’.
    Besides, you still command audience in FDC.
    Regards, and best wishes.

  3. Avatar
    Mushaija J. K.

    Over the years, I have followed your charismatic communication in various fields that pertain to our day to day activities, amongst which is politics. I have always looked forward to reading your objective, well elaborated political talk especially in Uganda. It is sad that you have decided to leave FDC though I didn’t support the party. I hope they (party leaders) will respect your decision. We are looking forward to discussing and forming with you and other peace-loving Ugandans, a grounded and straight forward party which will move Uganda to its promised land.

  4. Avatar
    Muniini K. Mulera

    From Mr. David Rusa:

    Dear Mr. Mulera,

    I am writing in response to the above subject. We need to appreciate a few things about most of the political party leaders in the third world. It is as if all of them went to the same political school and learnt the same political philosophy of Nicolo Machiavelli which emphasises that the end justifies the means. Very few of them ever care to implement the broad national goals, aims, objectives and needs. All they care for is pursuit of power at any cost without laying down clear strategies for national development, emancipation of the people, liberating the people from poverty, disease, ignorance and other social and economic ills.

    In practical terms this means that when these people attain power all they know is how to distribute favours and other benefits to their cronies at the expense of the majority of the people for whom they purported to be struggling. What they care for are their individual privileges and those of their cohorts at the expense of the majority of the people. This is evident in many third world countries where people claimed to be fighting for good governance, transparency, accountability, human rights or whatever sloganeering these political players used.

    In the case of Uganda, many of us lack analytical minds to assess the individuals that present themselves as leaders. We are very gullible and will move with anyone who promises to deliver change. The main questions should be; What kind of change – qualitative or quantitative? Who are the individuals purporting to bring about change? What are their records like? We might even go as far back as their school or college days to establish what kind of individuals they were as young people.

    You have pointed out a very good example of General Mugisha Muntu and his approach to national issues. I have known General Muntu for 40 years now, having met him at University. He has all along been very consistent in his national outlook. He is a true patriot, not a pseudo-nationalist like some who masquerade to be nationalists just to use the people as springboards to attain power.

    What you have observed in FDC is just the beginning of the inevitable. FDC is a party on a downward trend and nothing will save it from total disintegration. If FDC had wanted to survive as a major political party it should have steered clear of the politics of personality cult. The moment one individual declared himself invincible in FDC is the moment the party ceased to exist. All the parties that have tied their fortunes to individuals have inevitably disintegrated in the end. Several examples of such parties abound.

    Mr. Mulera you are not alone in jumping ship. Many more have and others are pondering similar moves. For those of you who feel you cannot join any of the existing parties, your only solution may lie in coming together to form a new political party led by people who are true nationalists. The ball is in your court.

  5. Avatar

    Dr Mulera: Please accept my sincere commiserations for the events which have led you to resign from the FDC political party. I was very saddened to hear your news.

    Alas, the reality is as follows: “[W]e [have] failed to understand the complex relationship between freedom, the rule of law, and democracy. We still don’t get it!” [See Bloody Independence – we wuz robbed! – Part 1] True independence has not yet come to Uganda; and she will not come until Ugandans wake up to the terrible truth that the main issue in Uganda is not Museveni. Museveni, just like his predecessor(s), is but a footnote in the long history of that patch of ground we call Uganda.

    The issue for Uganda today is: How does the Uganda create the right environment in which it may be possible to see a peaceable transfer of power from one person to another? In my blog, “Bloody Independence – we wuz robbed! – Part 2,” I argued that we should change the way we look at things. This is how I put it: ” We should, if possible, and in so far as it depends on us, resist the temptation to resort to violence; for anarchy is worse than any government, even a government presided over by [Museveni]. By so recommending I am in no wise suggesting that we should beat a parley with dictatorship, and make a treaty with a view of surrendering upon terms. But rather, we should make it our business to urge all educated [Ugandan] elites to be of good courage; and get to work cheerfully and patiently. It is needful to sacrifice private interests to the public welfare, and to lay aside all animosities among ourselves, that we may cordially unite against a common enemy, dictatorship. We should, however, not work confusedly, or in a hurry; but rather, we should take our time, and we shall be done the sooner or at least we shall have done the better; for if we work in a hurry, we shall do the work by halves.”

    I went on to argue that: “We should be content with preparing the next generation, that is, make it our business to gather the raw materials upon which another shall work. Yes, we may plough and sow; but it must needs fall to another to come and water the seed, and perhaps yet another to gather the harvest. By doing thus we will at least not act like ‘dumb driven cattle’ – driven this way or that way by one circumstance or other; rather, we should seize hold of this opportunity to reset the future of [Uganda] with a noble purpose, and pursue that purpose with all our might.” But who stands to benefit from all this endeavour?

    I answered: “All the peoples of Africa. If we take [Uganda] as our guide, it is impossible to imagine a better cause; for we work for our family, our clan, our tribe, our race, our country and our continent; and yes, for our children and our children’s children. By whom are these exertions: all of us – we the [Ugandan] people! It is said that even a coward will fight when he is sure to be victorious. Victory is already ours because all that is dear to us in [Uganda] is at stake; it is in this spirit we must rise as one and get to work with courage, else our tragic history may repeats itself…”

    Finally, although your resignation is a source of much sadness, and yet, I think it offers you a great opportunity to look to the future with renewed purpose. Now may even be a good time for you to answer Simukai’s cry: Wake up and fight for your rights; fight for the rights of your children and your children’s children.

  6. Avatar
    Ingram Kampe

    Why does it take our people (Ugandans) to realize that they are on the brink ( akangaratete)? I personally felt that no matter what out differences we could come up we a solution. I was very active with the Moshi conference-albeit from outside(Accra). No need to form a new political party. We need to sit and discuss and :agree”. Ask Trump and his idiocy.


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