By Norbert Mao
Last Wednesday the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) was launched. In his speech at the launch he reflected on a writing he saw on the wall of a hotel in Fort Portal. It read: “Work quietly and let success make the noise!” What was unveiled at the launch of the ANT showed that he takes that saying seriously. He is also fond of another saying (attributed to Abraham Lincoln) which goes: “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first four sharpening the axe.” The successful launch of ANT showed a seriousness devoid of drama and revealed that meticulous planning and preparation went into the founding and launch of the party.
I first got to know General Muntu closely when a small group of us in the 6th Parliament started meeting every Thursday at 8am to pray and have breakfast together. The Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast was established to deepen the spiritual life and moral fiber of Members of Parliament through an acknowledgement God’s leadership and His role in human affairs.
He struck me then, as he does even now, as a down to earth, unassuming man of principle whose compass is his deep Christian faith. I am therefore not surprised that the first core value listed in the manifesto of ANT is Godliness. Simply put, Godliness is active obedience of God’s Will. This means the party values the spiritual dimension of it’s work.
As I listened to Muntu I recalled a book I read in 2003 by John Ortberg titled “If you want to walk on water you’ve got to get out of the boat.” That is exactly what Gen. Muntu has done most of his life. He has never been afraid to leave his comfort zone in order to do what he believes to be the right thing. Born to family you could accurately call “UPC royalty”, he defiantly joined Museveni’s bush war straight from Makerere University after finishing his final exams.
After the NRA guerrillas overthrew the government, he served as the Army Commander for a record eight years. At the same time he served the Constituent Assembly and the Parliament. In all these public positions his name has never been linked to any impropriety. He boldly opposed the move to lift the presidential term limits and told President Museveni that he cannot entrust the security of his legacy to his adoring minions because “legacy is personal”. Eventually he was to part ways with his Commander in Chief and became part of the core of the group that founded the FDC.
In FDC he served as National Mobilizer and later President. By his own account, the infighting over strategy and tactics led to serious divisions. This came to a head during the delegates conference where he lost the leadership contest. Many expected him to jump ship immediately, but true to his nature, he announced a nationwide consultation on next steps. Eventually he compiled the report of his consultations and presented it to the new FDC president Patrick Oboi Amuriat. The report was unequivocal in its conclusion that his part in the FDC story had ended. He started the process of registering a party which was eventually unveiled after thirteen months as ANT.
Given the infant mortality rate of new organizations ANT is an act of faith. For Muntu as a man of faith it is a sign that he has risen above fear (again), overcome failure and responded to God’s call by faith. The positive reception of ANT shows the massive potential awaiting outside our comfort zones.
Muntu lamented the dominance of our politics by those with no sense of values. Indeed the saying is that cream rises to the top and so does scum. The age old struggle to close the gap between, passion and ability, knowledge and power will rage in ANT like in any other organization. No organization is scum-free. Fortunately the ANT core seem to have definite beliefs about the world. That will make all the difference.