Ask Mugisha Muntu - November 2022 Report

This report highlights the major elements of the Ask Mugisha Muntu dialogue, which was moderated by Emmanuel M. Luwanga.

Mugisha Muntu’s view on issues in the East African Community (EAC)  

The biggest impediment has been fear concerning the removal of persons and the free movement of labour. Security issue continues to be a hindrance in the promotion of unity within the community due to the interference of member states in conflicts such as the DRC conflict. However, in my perspective, if all seven leaders recognise the benefit of a successful economic and political integration process, this will bring together individual entities and the region as a whole.

On the implementation of a joint army by the EAC

Yes, you can have an army composed of personnel from the member states. In spite of this, the army cannot solely solve the security issues at hand unless the leaders sit down and resolve their political contradictions first. Only then will everything fall in place. Use of physical force is paramount in some cases but it is more feasible to build capabilities by engaging in diplomatic work to resolve the challenges which are largely political in nature. Additionally, everything moves or collapses based on the nature of leadership in a country. If only leaders in the EAC will be real with each other and look at the larger picture, then countries and the region will benefit. Singularly, each of these countries does not have the capacity to thrive independently but combined, they can build potential.

Viewpoint on the buy-in of the EAC agenda toward the average East African

The government has to do a lot more to enable the population’s access to tangible benefits from the integration. For instance, the moment they are able to resolve matters relating to common market and trade issues like non-tariff barriers, there is no doubt that the population will fall behind in the integration process. The problem I notice in a number of countries at the leadership level is their double-minded behaviour whereby, they promote integration on one side but on another day, choose to further their domestic agenda over the integration process.

The problem arises when countries sometimes decide to close their borders and refuse entry of products from another partner state. So how do you integrate in economic terms? Once you decide to integrate, then you must accept all terms and conditions that come with it. When the mindset of leaders changes and the integration process is effectively managed, the population will definitely be on board because of the benefits.

On the necessity for regional blocs and global partners

If we can effectively integrate economically and politically, we can become stronger as a region.  Collaborating with global partners also has its advantages. Notwithstanding, it boils down to leadership.

On the efficiency of institutions in Uganda

The dilemma of ineffective institutions stems from poor governance. One of the biggest weaknesses President Museveni has is his micro-management methods. Micromanagers are never able to build strong institutions because they tend to do whatever pleases them, building capabilities around themselves as individuals. This is why you see almost every other institution being replicated in his presidency. I do not think that practice is going to change any time soon until this regime is changed.

On the role of ANT coordinators in building structures

Despite operating at a low percentage, we are keen on expanding the leadership capacity. This explains why we continuously communicate with Ugandans because we know there are people who have the capability to be part of the process. We have plans in place and we are tirelessly working on them which will eventually produce a breakthrough.  We are a work in progress and yet to reach our desired goal but ANT believes that change must be built not only by leaders, members have vital roles to play as well.

Analysis of public servants’ delayed remuneration

The greatest challenge we are confronted with in public service is indiscipline in leadership. The levels of insensitivity and greed of those in leadership in Uganda are so deep. If the resources available are well utilised, there will definitely be a huge difference between what could be and what is. With well-functioning systems and discipline in the management of national resources, corruption will be reduced,  thieves will fear and civil servants will be well remunerated.

On the move towards science by the current regime

Countries determine what their priorities are at different points in time in their development process. I do not see any problem with Uganda putting a strategic focus on whatever area we think is necessary presently. Without a doubt, science goes towards research, and countries that plan to build a strong technological base have to invest in such an area.  However, in making such a move, there needs to be a debate on the merits and demerits, we need to consider the involvement of different stakeholders, and use of experts in carrying out investigations alongside revealing the factors involved in the decision-making process. Once you move systematically, that produces a sound decision.

On people’s financial contributions to political parties

Small contributions are the way to go as far as I am concerned. If you have a party of people who believe in what the party is doing and contribute towards it, that is a great source of funds for the party’s growth.

Opinion on the opposition forming a coalition

My view is that before a coalition is built, there has to be concentration on developing individual capabilities before coming together. If we combine efforts and end up in power but have not garnered the necessary capabilities, we may turn into the current regime.

On the influence of the European nations in the Congo conflict

It will be safe for us in the region and in all the seven countries to operate on the premise that, potential from external interference is always going to be around. Therefore, we should focus on building our competence in our region. Concentrating efforts and applying the relevant management skills will result in a robust integrated unit beneficial to us. Something which no external force can destabilize.

 On ANT’s message to the Diaspora

I call on people in the diaspora to subscribe to opposition parties. Nothing good happens by accident and the future we want to shape needs investment from you.

ANT’s message to the Youth,

If there are youths who believe in the values we subscribe to, youth who yearn to participate in influencing the future in terms of changing politics from what it is now to politics being value-based, then those youths belong to ANT. For youths who want to see a future where the management style is changed, institutions are respected and investment in employment opportunities, then ANT is worth your time and effort.

Final remarks: Reach out to us on our social media platforms, please bring your skill and any resources you have so we can change the nation. Thank you.

Report compiled by Priscilla Kwabea Fianko, Intern with ANT.