Incumbent President of Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni’s son- Maj Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba broke his silence on Wednesday over the underlying suspicions that he was being groomed to replace his father.
Maj Gen Muhoozi said he harbors no presidential ambitions. President Museveni who has been serving since 1986 will be barred by the Constitution from running for another term in 2021 because of age limits.
Article 102(b) of the country’s constitution bans anyone above 75 years from contesting for the presidency. President Museveni is already 72 and will be past that age by the time his current term ends.
The President promised to respect the Article and so talk of a successor continue to prevail/ Maj Gen Muhoozi was speaking at the UPDF headquarters in Mbuya where he was being decorated with the rank of Maj General, up from his former rank of Brigadier.
The new rank will enable him command Special Forces, which will soon be elevated to Service Force within the UPDF. He said that the so called “Muhoozi Project” (the rumors of his grooming) is “non-existent” and a “redherring”.
In response to the question of whether he agreed with his father, that an ambition to succeed him would require him to go through the procedures laid out in the Constitution, Maj Gen Muhoozi responded: “That is the procedure of every Ugandan, including me.”
The question was based on President Museveni’s answer to a question posed to him on Al-Jazera in 2013 on whether his son was interested in succeeding him, to which Museveni had replied; “is for him [Muhoozi] and the people of Uganda, but it is not in the short run”.
Maj Gen Muhoozi however removed himself from the picture of any such aspirations, saying that he is happy to serve in the military for “some time”.
The suspicions on whether he was being groomed to succeed his father was brought to a head in May 2013 when Gen David Sejusa, the then coordinator of intelligence services, instructed a top spymaster to probe a suspected plot to bump off top government officials opposed to the plan.
Gen Sejusa had to exile himself to London when threatened with charges of offending the UPDF Act, he has however since returned to the country and will appear in the High Court on Friday to hear a ruling on whether he is still a serving military officer.
Maj Gen Muhoozi likewise dismissed concerns about his rapid ascent through the ranks, saying all his promotions have been through the army promotions and commission’s board.
The issue is one of polarizing public debate in Uganda as he has rapidly risen through the ranks after first receiving training in 1994 before formally joining the Forces in August 1999. As with matters of this nature, time is sure to reveal if Maj Gen Muhoozi is speaking truthfully or if he has indeed had his eyes on the presidency all along.