“[I have] not declared that I want to stand for President. This
so-called (Muhoozi) project is a people’s creation. Uganda is not a
monarchy where leadership is passed on from father to son. However, [I
am] a Ugandan who qualifies to stand for any elective position of my
choice,” Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Special Forces Commander
Monday, June 24, 2013
First Son Muhoozi Kainerugaba has for the first time broken his
silence on the succession debate, and denied allegations that his rise
and key placement in the military command is a ploy to sidestep the law
and have him replace his father as president.
“Uganda is not a monarchy where leadership is
passed on from father to son. This so-called (Muhoozi) project is a
people’s creation,” the Brigadier said in a statement released by
Special Forces Spokesman Edson Kwesiga.
Brig Muhoozi, 39, is a one-star general and
commands the 10,000-strong Special Forces Command, considered the engine
of the Ugandan army, and responsible for guarding the President plus
the country’s most-sensitive assets, including the oil fields.
Capt Kwesiga yesterday told the Daily Monitor that
he posted the comments on Facebook because of sustained debate on the
social media about public perceptions of possible transfer of power from
President Museveni to Brigadier Muhoozi --- and questions why the First
Son was hesitant to pronounce himself on the matter.
In the statement, Brig Muhoozi appears to question
why he was being sucked into the succession debate when he has “not
declared that he wants to stand for President”. “The power to choose how
Uganda is governed lies with Ugandans and not a single individual
(President Museveni) as some people would want us to believe,” Capt
Referring to Brig Muhoozi, Capt Kwesiga said: “He
says that Uganda is not a monarchy where leadership is passed on from
father to son. However, he is a Ugandan who qualifies to stand for any
elective position of his choice.”
The Constitution provides that any Ugandan, who is
a citizen by birth, is not under 35 or above 75 years; and, has
completed at least high Advanced-level education or its equivalent is
eligible to present themselves for election as President.
But the laws prevent serving military officers
from diving into partisan politics, meaning Brig Muhoozi would have to
retire from the UPDF if he were to throw his hat in the political ring.
his position in yesterday’s statement reads ambivalent, it is the
closest indication thus far that the Special Forces commander does not
rule out the possibility of him giving a shot at the highest political
office in the land. “This would require him to retire from the army,
offer himself to the electorate who would either vote him in or choose
not to,” Capt Kwesiga’s noted.
Critics, among them opposition leaders Olara
Otunnu and Kizza Besigye, have publicly said they have no problem with
Brig Muhoozi becoming President if Ugandans vote him in a free, fair and
transparent ballot --- and not imposed on the country by President
Gen David Sejusa, originally Tinyefuza, the
troubled coordinator of intelligence agencies, put the country on the
tenterhooks by alleging that some senior military and government
officials perceived hostile to rumoured arrangements to have the First
Son succeed President Museveni were being targeted for elimination.
Talk that the First Son was being fast-tracked to
become president have done the rounds following what is perceived as his
fast-paced promotion, for instance, to a brigadier within 12 years when
most UPDF serving one-star generals took 20 years or more before
attaining the rank.
Another notable officer who became a Brigadier at
a relatively young age was Mugisha Muntu, who later became army
commander before breaking ranks with the NRM. He now leads opposition