Uganda military stays silent on Muhoozi’s presidency pronouncements

Uganda military stays silent on Muhoozi's presidency pronouncements
Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) hierarchy has curiously remained mute on Land Forces Commander Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s pronouncement to vie for the presidency yet he’s still a serving army officer.

Lt Gen Muhoozi, who, turned 48 on April 24 has publicly expressed interest to run for president in 2026, when his father Yoweri Kaguta Museveni clocks 40 years as head of state. His campaigners have been organizing entertainment shows, religious gatherings, and soccer competitions in the different regions of the country to celebrate his birthday, dubbed MK@48.

But analysts have weighed in observing that countrywide ‘birthday celebration’ is simply a ploy to popularize Lt Gen Muhoozi’s anticipated candidacy. Speculation about Lt Gen Muhoozi being lined to succeed his father was first highlighted in 2013 by then coordinator of Intelligence Services, Gen David Sejusa.

At the time, Sejusa called for an investigation into what he said were “claims” of a plot “to assassinate people who disagree with this so-called family project of holding onto power in perpetuity.”

Now, several of Muhoozi’s tweets, partly confirms his interest in taking over power, though it remains unclear when exactly that would happen as his father’s tenure of office will end in 2026, and for now Muhoozi is still a soldier in the army.

For instance, in one of his most recent tweets, Gen Muhoozi said, “The fact that all those who used to abuse me on a daily basis are now being forced to swallow their words by the people is great!! Team MK will announce our political programme soon.”

He added: “They were joking with us until they saw how strong we are! Uganda is ours! No one shall ever intimidate us! Uganda belongs to Team MK!.”

Article 208(2) of the Constitution prohibits army officers from engaging in active politics. 

Read Also: Museveni, Kagame express discomfort with Muhoozi’s tweets

Asked about the army’s position in regards to Muhoozi’s statements, Brig Gen Felix Kulayigye, the Defence spokesperson declined to comment. He referred this reporter to Maj Chris Magezi, the director Information and Communication office of the senior presidential advisor in charge of special operations.

“I request you talk to the General himself or director Information and Communication Office about it, he is in-charge,” said Kulayige before he hang up. 

Repeated calls to Magezi went unanswered. It should be recalled that since 2005, several retired high ranking officers who include Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Henry Tumukunde, Gen Sejusa, Col (Rtd) Kiiza Besigye and colonel Fred Bogere ran into trouble for expressing political opinions.

Museveni has all but endorsed his son’s political ambitions. Last month he said at State House that whereas he has been tolerant to corrupt government officials, his son may just not be as tolerant.