We will take power, says Muhoozi

First Son Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba and President Museveni. PHOTO/PPU

What you need to know:

  • Critics have accused the commander of the Land Forces of flouting the law that keeps serving military officers out of partisan politics.

With unprecedented parties by his “army” of fans continuing across the country to celebrate his birthday, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba yesterday dropped the strongest hint yet of his political ambition, saying his team would win power in the country.

The announcement, typically, came via Twitter, the micro-blogging social media site.

“I consider President Kaguta Museveni and President Paul Kagame the best strategists that ever lived. When Team MK wins power in this country, which we will! Our first act will be to increase the sports budget,” Lt Gen Kainerugaba’s account tweeted.

This was followed by another tweet more than an hour later which captioned photos of some of the birthday festivities.

“The enemies fought us for so long! They abused me with every name they could find! Now they can’t believe we have taken over the country! We will not stop until we are in complete control!”

It is the clearest indication yet that the birthday celebrations could be a form of political mobilisation. 

Critics have accused Gen Kainerugaba, who is the commander of the Land Forces in the UPDF, of flouting the law that keeps serving military officers out of partisan politics.

Section 99 of the UPDF Act says: “A serving officer or militant who desires to seek political office shall first resign or retire from the Defence Forces according to regulations made by the minister.”

In March, following widespread criticism over some of the statements on his Twitter account, Gen Kainerugaba’s account announced that he had resigned from the army. 

Army spokespersons pussy-footed around the issue and people close to the general later claimed that the tweet had been posted in error.

Rwandan president Paul Kagame (left) and Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba during a recent visit. PHOTO/COURTESY

Asked to comment on the latest tweets about taking power, the UPDF spokesperson, Brig Gen Felix Kulayije, said: “I don’t see any problem with that statement, he is just expressing his opinion and I don’t want to interpret it.”

The unusually public birthday celebrations and the not-so-cryptic tweets have resurrected the succession debate, with some political commentators saying that Gen Kainerugaba is positioning himself to take over from his father, President Museveni, who has been in power since 1986.

In May 2013, Gen David Sejusa, then coordinator of intelligence agencies, alleged in a letter that was leaked to the public, that there was a “Muhoozi Project” to have the son succeed the father, and that officials opposed to it had been marked for elimination. 

This publication was shut down after publishing a story about the letter.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera TV in October 2013, President Museveni said his son, who is a serving military officer, was not interested in politics.

What they think about Muhoozi project

Mr Patrick Oboi Amuriat, the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party president: “This Muhoozi Project is being used as a smoke screen meant to manipulate Ugandans to bring back Museveni who has been in power forever.

They want to blackmail Ugandans to say that we had better have Museveni than have his son.”

Mr Norbert Mao, president of Democratic Party (DP): “I want to see more tweets for me to be able to comment because I know there are more coming. Perhaps the general has a lot of power already but he is just seeking office.”