Uganda’s President Raises Succession Concerns with Son’s Appointment as Top Army Commander

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni made headlines on Thursday by appointing his son as the top commander of the military, sparking controversy in a nation where suspicions have long lingered regarding Museveni grooming his eldest child for the presidency.

Museveni’s son, Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, has been actively engaging in rallies across the country, despite laws prohibiting serving army officers from involvement in partisan politics. Kainerugaba maintains that his endeavors, including the establishment of the Patriotic League of Uganda, are nonpartisan and aimed at fostering patriotism among Ugandans.

The announcement of Kainerugaba’s promotion came late Thursday, accompanied by a reshuffle of government ministers, wherein two of his closest advisors were appointed to ministerial positions. This move has fueled speculation that Museveni supports Kainerugaba’s political aspirations.

With Museveni, in power since 1986, yet to announce his retirement plans and facing no significant rivals within his ruling party, the National Resistance Movement, observers believe the military may influence the selection of his successor. Kainerugaba’s allies strategically hold key positions within the security services, adding weight to this speculation.

While Kainerugaba’s supporters view him as a potential agent for a peaceful transfer of power, a rarity in Uganda since independence in 1962, opposition figures and critics fear his ascent signals a slide toward hereditary rule. Kainerugaba’s journey through the military ranks, often dubbed the “Muhoozi Project,” has been contentious, with both Museveni and Kainerugaba denying allegations of a deliberate succession plan. Nevertheless, as Museveni, 79, potentially serves his last term without a clear successor from the civilian government, observers suggest a transition may be underway. Kainerugaba’s recent role as a senior presidential advisor overseeing special operations follows his removal as an infantry commander in 2022 due to controversial social media posts, indicating a significant shift in his trajectory within Ugandan politics and the military.

About Geraldine Boechat 2711 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia