Museveni’s apology to Kenya falls short of punitive measures – Mpuuga

Forget about unfulfilled NRM pledges, LOP tells Luwero residents
The Leader of Opposition in Parliament Mathias Mpuuga

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Leader of Opposition (LoP), Mathias Mpuuga says President Yoweri Museveni’s apology to Kenyans over the recent remarks by his son and the former Commander of the UPDF Land Forces, Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba falls short of punitive measures.

“We acknowledge the apology by Gen. Yoweri Museveni on behalf of his errant and out-of-sorts son, his apology falls short of punitive measures. We are concerned that during the heat of the storm, Mr. Museveni chose to promote his son to a four-star General, the highest rank in the UPDF,” Mpuuga said.

This comes a few hours after Museveni officially extended an apology to Kenya for the provocative tweets sent out by Gen. Muhoozi, saying it would take UPDF two weeks to capture Kenya’s capital Nairobi. In his apology, Museveni justified why he had dropped Gen. Muhoozi from the position of the Commander of Land Forces and promoted him to a full General.

Gen. Muhoozi started a series of tweets on Monday 3rd through his official handle, @mkainerugaba, that he was on a mission to raze colonial borders and capture Nairobi, within just two weeks. The tweets which covered feeds across social media handles sparked an online rage between Ugandans and Kenyans.

“…I love my Kenyan relatives. Constitution? Rule of law? You must be joking! For us, there is only the Revolution and you will soon learn about it! Muhoozi said in one of the tweets. The Ministry of Internal Affairs distanced itself from his sentiments.

Museveni apologizes to Kenya over Muhoozi's cryptic war tweets
FILE PHOTO: General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the son of Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni looks on during his 48th birthday party in Entebbe, Uganda May 7, 2022. REUTERS/Abubaker Lubowa

Moments later, President Museveni announced changes in the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) Command, dropping Muhoozi from the position of Commander of Land Forces in what appeared to be an attempt to stop the damage.

On Wednesday 5, October 2022, President Museveni said he had sent out an apology to Kenya’s president William Ruto regretting the unbecoming approach exhibited by Muhoozi on social media. “I ask our Kenyan brothers and sisters to forgive us for tweets sent by General Muhoozi, former Commander of Land Forces here, regarding the election matters in that great country. It is not correct for Public officers, be they civilian or military, to comment or interfere in any way, in the internal affairs of brother countries,” Mr Museveni said in a statement.

Mr Museveni also explained that the move to promote Muhoozi to a four-star General, the highest rank in UPDF, even after the online chaos, was to appreciate the many other positive contributions he has made despite acting negatively in recent days.

“This is a time-tested formula –discourage the negative and encourage the positive. Very sorry, ndugu zetu Wakenya. Also sorry to the Ugandans who could have been annoyed by one of their officials meddling in the affairs of brother Kenya,” Mr Museveni added.

Museveni congratulates Kenya President-elect William Ruto
Uganda’s Yoweri President Museveni has been close to new Kenyan President William Ruto

However, the Leader of Opposition (LoP), Mathias Mpuuga has poked holes in the President’s apology. The Nyendo-Mukungwe MP says that the acceptable practice would demand that Gen. Muhoozi is demoted to a lower rank.

“By promoting his erratic and careless son, Mr. Museveni is showing no concern for the reputation of the national army, which needs insulation from erratic and dangerous behavior more so from one of its top officers. The behavior of Gen. Muhoozi, which is no secret to many Ugandans should offer a sobering reflection as to what is required to promote men in uniform beyond blood relations,” further reads Mpuuga’s statement.

He describes the tweets sent out by Gen. Muhoozi as irresponsible and provocative since they threaten to overrun a sovereign country with which Uganda has enjoyed cordial relations over the years. Mpuuga says that the tweets did not only make a mockery of the democracy and rule of law in Kenya but threatened Uganda’s national security by dragging the UPDF into the argument.

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

He says that this act should not be taken lightly since Kenya is Uganda’s main gateway to the sea and an economic powerhouse across the region and that anything that affects the relations between the two countries will have far-reaching implications on the business and livelihood of ordinary Ugandans.

Before the President’s apology, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement reaffirming that Uganda treasures the existing strong bilateral relations between Uganda and Kenya based on the shared history between the two countries, common values, mutual respect, trust, and the desire to build a unified East African Community.

The Ministry added that the Government of Uganda does not conduct its foreign policy and other official business through social media nor depend on social media sources in dealing with other sovereign governments.