Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, President Yoweri Museveni’s special operations adviser, took to Twitter once more to make an announcement:
This time, Gen Muhoozi stated that he will run for president in 2026, but later deleted his statement.
That could be both good and bad for the president’s son. He should not lie to the public because he is a soldier. Good because he might have made a bad joke and realised it.
However, as a politician attempting to break away from military practice, he may be a typical Ugandan politician with unpredictable steps.
Gen Muhoozi was a reliable envoy in the past, helping to restore Uganda’s relations with Rwanda, which had closed the common land border for three years.
During his bad days, he put Ugandan diplomats on frantic calls to smooth things over with states he had roiled. For example, when the Tigray People’s Liberation Front was fighting the Ethiopian government, he sided with them. Uganda officially requested dialogue.
Then he said he could easily “capture” Nairobi if he so desired. Kampala used back-channel diplomacy to reassure Nairobi that his bad joke was not appreciated.
Whether believed or not, Gen Muhoozi now speaks in the language of youth, tired of being led by old people, including his father. However, when criticising former leaders, he does not directly mention them in his tweets.
“The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is 42 years old, while the Prime Minister of Finland is 37. Some of us are approaching 50. “We’re sick of waiting,” he tweeted this week. “We’re going to take a stand!” Fidel Castro (former Cuban leader), my HERO, was elected President at the age of 32. I’m going to be 49 years old soon. It’s just not right. The presidency of the country is intended for young men. How many of you agree that our time has come? Enough with the elderly ruling us. It is now our generation’s turn to shine.”
He did not delete it. “You have wanted me to say it forever!” he deleted. Okay, in the name of Jesus Christ, my God, all the young people of Uganda and the world, and our great revolution, I will run for President in 2026!”
Gen Muhoozi spent the latter part of last year leading mobilisation drives, particularly after being relieved of the command of land forces, at which point he stated that he was now free to interact with the people whose support he required.
Despite having formed committees, a clash with his father’s comrades, particularly bush war heroes such as Internal Affairs Minister Gen Kahinda Otafiire and the country’s ruling party (NRM) vice-chairperson Haji Moses Kigongo, appeared to have humbled him when he said he would only be president if his father supported him.
To his supporters, he remained a “standby generator,” ready to take over when the main power source failed, in the expectation that his father would relinquish power at some point.
On the election ballot
It is becoming increasingly clear that President Yoweri Museveni will be on the ballot again to seek a mandate for his 7th elective term since 1996. Museveni, who took power in a coup in 1986, was elected president for the first time under the new constitution in 1996.
According to Muhoozi supporters like Balaam Barugahara, the Muhoozi movement is reawakening dormant NRM historicals and bush war heroes who have refused to step down in favour of the energetic, youthful members.
“We are putting in place structures to prepare Gen Muhoozi to succeed his father when the time comes. We’re doing it on our own. “We’re not tied to NRM,” he added.
“Those who haven’t set their priorities right are the ones confusing themselves. “They don’t know whether to please the son or the father,” he told Kampala’s local media.