The Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) presidential candidate Gen. Gregg Mugisha Muntu disagreed with residents of Nakaseke district on Uganda’s need for a civilian president.
Three army generals; the incumbent Gen. Yoweri Museveni, independent candidate Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde and ANT’s Muntu are battling for the presidency with 7 civilian presidents in next year’s general elections. In Nakaseke, residents told Muntu that it is high time Uganda got a civilian president because army men tend to cling to power and use security forces to terrorise their own citizens.
They cited the recent response of President Yoweri Museveni to the protests that erupted over the arrest of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi. To quell the protests, Museveni deployed soldiers on the streets which left more than 54 people dead, over 150 injured and more than 1,000 arrested.
While campaigning at Kiwoko town council on Tuesday, Muntu asked the residents to vote Museveni out of power for failure to instil discipline in the armed forces.
Muntu said that it is the residents of Nakaseke who joined Museveni in the bush war of 1981-1986 to bring peace, equality, democracy, and respect of human rights among others but he has digressed from all.
Muntu added that the brutality exhibited by security forces recently is a clear indication that the country is at a crossroad and Museveni can’t save the situation because he also uses forces to retain power. However, residents told Muntu that they were sceptical whether as a soldier he wouldn’t do the same if elected as president.
Hassan Katumba the LC I chairman of Nakaseta zone in Kiwoko town challenged Gen. Muntu to explain how he will be different from Museveni since he’s also a soldier. Katumba says that they have lost hope in soldiers for overstaying in power and using the power of the gun to violate human rights. Samuel Kalyesubula says that they have lost trust in soldiers and now they want a civilian president who can rein on security forces.
But Muntu said he has a good record in leadership and with no intention to make mistakes like those committed by Museveni. Muntu added that someone to cling to power or terrorize civilians is within their personal traits and qualities of leadership and it has nothing to do with being a soldier. Muntu cited Uganda’s previous civilian presidents including Milton Obote whom he said equally terrorized Ugandans.
Nakaseke is a ruling NRM party stronghold and it was an epicentre for the National Resistance Army war of 1981-1986. In 2016, Museveni obtained 76.2% against Kizza Besigye’s 21.2 % of 64,557 total votes cast for presidential polls in the district.