This Muhoozi thing, is it a project or projection?

First Son Muhoozi Keinerugaba leads members of the Airforce and Special Forces in a parade during a recent Tarehe Sita (Army Day) celebrations in Entebbe. PPU PHOTO

In Kinshasa, we call it Radio Trottoir; in Kampala we call it Radio Katwe). In common English usage, this can be rendered as ‘the rumour mill’. Although the rumour that President Museveni could be grooming his son Brig. Muhoozi Keinerugaba to succeed him as head of state has been with us for some time, it remained just that: a rumour. It lacks the institutional sanction and sourcing.

Enter Gen. David Sejusa. He ordered the Director General of Internal Security Organisation (ISO) to investigate the ‘rumour’ that there was a group of political and military actors planning to eliminate senior government officials ‘perceived’ to be opposed to the ‘Project Muhoozi’.

And by that purely administrative action, Gen. David Ssejusa wittingly or unwittingly lent institutional credence to the rumour. The solidity (of course not the veracity) of the rumour is that it has now been mainstreamed for institutional adoption, review and response.

For latest arrivals from Planet Mars, ‘Project Muhoozi’ is a cynical reference to President Museveni’s ‘rumoured’ desire to be succeeded by his son Brig. Muhoozi Kenerugaba.

Project or projection
But we need to look at this Muhoozi thing critically: is it a project or projection? Please accept our definition of ‘project’ as a work plan in the course of implementation. A ‘projection’ is an informed wish or expectation.

I am not surprised that President Museveni would wish his son aims and shoots higher for the presidency. It is all natural that a father would support his son or daughter’s ambition. Show me a father who would not support his son’s ambition (project or projection) and I will show you a cruel father.

But we have been with President Museveni long enough to know him better. The nearest Brig. Muhoozi Keinerugaba can make a short at the presidency of the republic will be in 2021.
Even those accused of blindly supporting his phantom candidature know that President Museveni is likely to seek re-election in 2016. And as the head of the civil intelligence community, one would expect Gen. David Ssejusa to know or at least to appreciate this tangible reality.

Because of the foregoing, Gen. Sejusa’s order for investigation did not derive or originate from actionable intelligence. He was merely politicking and creating a causa belli for his ‘political war’ with President Museveni.

All in all, the controversy caused by Gen. Sejusa has multiple vortices: the Projection Sejusa and the Project Muhoozi. The overall objective of the Projection Sejusa is to challenging President Museveni and not the Project Muhoozi.

Political opposition
So, will Gen. Ssejusa join opposition politics? Whereas it is true that Gen. Sejus’a’s fall-out with the establishment is a negative score for President Museveni, he (Sejusa) does not bring any structural formation to the opposition save for his fire-stoking abrasive character.

What Gen. Sejusa brings is that acknowledgement there is high level of unanimity across the political divide in the call for change. However, what is in issue is how and who offers the leadership in the management of that ‘change’.

The NRM (or actually President Museveni), perhaps because of vested interests like regime survival, seems to have abdicated its historical role of managing the transition. The only thing Museveni seems to be offering is the rumour of Project Muhoozi.

So-called ‘Project Muhoozi’ represents what President Paul Kagame of Rwanda called ‘Change in Continuity’. I must confess that I find the idea of ‘Change in Continuity’ tempting for the Ugandan situation. But it needs good management not coercion.

After a lengthy presidency of over 30 years, the country will need some kind of breather in a weak presidency (whether it comes from the opposition or government side). And the immediate future stability of the polity will depend on how we, as a country, manage this ephemeral period.

Which brings in the political opposition. There has been a strong feeling that the opposition should unite and filed a single presidential candidate. And that this would (could) give them some kind of psychological leverage over the population.

The challenge is: how does the political opposition take advantage of the open disagreements or fall-outs in the NRM or army? Almost all the 1986 Class that are still with the regime have either made mistakes by omission or commission.

I personally don’t see the person and character of David Sejusa fitting in such grand arrangement of a united opposition poised to take over power. I know that there are places in Uganda where the population would feel uncomfortable with Gen. Sejusa as President.

Anecdote
I must confess that I have a personal problem with Gen. Sejusa; and here…
The relief programme for the people displaced by floods in Kasese was going very well with all the right ingredients in place.

Hon. Musa Echweru, the Cabinet minister co-ordinating the relief efforts is conversant with the area, having worked there as RDC. He is also married to a home girl who grew up in the shadow of River Nyamwamba.

If you don’t mind, may add that Musa Echweru’s wife and I share a grandfather: Ibrahim Kyabihire from whom I take my first name Ibrahim. Now, when the nation was concentrating on the challenges of our people in Kasese, in comes Gen. David Sejusa tempting the hounds (media) off Kasese.

Courtesy of Gen. Sejusa, the Kasese story is now off the front pages. And you think I should not get angry with Gen. Sejusa?

Asuman Bisiika is the Executive Editor of the East African Flagpost

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