The move by former FDC President Mugisha Muntu, who’s unsuccessfully sought the party’s ticket for previous votes, comes as dissent to Museveni’s rule increasingly centers on Robert Kyagulanyi, a pop star-turned-independent lawmaker who’s facing treason charges. Analysts say the president, who’s led the East African nation for more than three decades, is facing his toughest challenge yet in the lead-up to the elections.
Muntu said he’s leaving the FDC because it’s focusing on defying the government rather than building an efficient party. “Instead of fighting each other over strategy, our departure will allow the current party leadership to pursue its agenda unencumbered while we also pursue the same objectives in ways we feel better reflect our values,” he told reporters Thursday in the capital, Kampala.
The new party’s name will be announced by Dec. 25, according to Muntu, a former army chief. He said he will seek alliances with the opposition, including the FDC and the group led by Kyagulanyi, who goes by the stage name Bobi Wine.
“We believe that no single party acting on its own can rescue our country from the dangerous path we currently tread,” Muntu said.
Museveni, who seized power as a rebel leader in 1986, is already one of the continent’s longest-serving rulers in a country that has the world’s second-youngest population. After lawmakers backed the removal of a constitutional age-limit on presidential candidate late last year, the 74-year-old will be able to seek re-election.
Jared Jeffery, an analyst at South Africa-based NKC African Economics, said that while the FDC may have been weakened by Muntu’s leaving, “momentum in the country is behind the opposition.”
“We should expect a good showing in the next election, unless something significant happens before then,” he said by email.