(Rtd) Maj. Gen. Mugish Muntu who was once a close ally of his master President Yoweri Museveni believes that Thursday will bring change to Uganda as the country heads to polls to choose the next President.
Through his political party – the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), General Mugisha Muntu is seeking to replace Museveni as the next Ugandan President.
The General has been combing through the country soliciting for votes from Ugandans, but the elections on Thursday will determine the next leader among more than a dozen Presidential candidates including Muntu.
“As we conclude the campaigning season, ANT party is working to ensure that we have polling agents at every station. The financial implications of this are enormous and we are requesting all that can support us to do so via the following campaign,” General Muntu said on Wednesday.
Supporters of the General have not been spared by government security agents who throughout the campaign process subjected them to overdoses of tear gas, beating, arrests and other forms of mistreatment.
Incumbent President Museveni that has ruled Uganda since 1986 says the opposition political parties are being financed by foreign elements that are according to him “unhappy with Uganda’s Progress”.
However, Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world, with 78% under the age of 30. Uganda’s national unemployment rate is 9.2%, while the unemployment rate for youth aged 18-30 is 13.3%.
The youth are seemingly hungry for change and have demonstrated this urge through rallying behind the new opposition parties- critics believe this will deeply divide the vote for the ruling party and could result in a re-run.
“Committing to peaceful transition on the part of all change seeking forces is critical. We have done so, which is why we are on the ballot. Equally important, is for the regime to do the same. No Ugandan should die because they disagree with the government,” Muntu said.
Muntu says the regime has tried to disrupt our activities and limit the election narrative to non-issues. We are focused on ensuring the people hear the issues
Although Ugandan youth are commonly regarded as highly entrepreneurial – and it’s true that Uganda hosts the greatest number of young entrepreneurs on the continent – in reality, most youth-run businesses are small-scale and informal, with little employment-generating effect and a very high discontinuation rate.
The country is facing crucial systemic barriers that limit economic growth and job creation. Chief among these is an unfavourable business climate, characterised by an often-prohibitive cost of doing business, and limited access to start-up or scale-up capital.
The poor quality of basic education also inadequately prepares youth for work, and limited infrastructure to support business operations and logistics means businesses struggle to engage with markets.
With these challenges, the youth are making a statement in demand for a shift from the ordinary that they have enveloped in for three decades of Museveni’s rule.