The son of Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, Maj Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, has said he does not have monarchy plans, breaking his silence on a raging issue over suspicions that he is being groomed to succeed his father.
Muhoozi said on Wednesday that he was happy with being in military saying he harbors no presidential ambitions.
The son of President Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, was speaking on the sidelines of the pipping ceremony of newly promoted army officers. According to the government-owned New Vision, Muhoozi who said that he is focusing on building his military career, was promoted from Brigadier to Major General, heading the Special Forces Command (SFC).
The first son of the president called a claim by opposition supporters that Museveni was grooming him to take over as a “red herring” and that he was happy in the army “for some time”.
"I am very happy in the military and in case I wanted to join politics, I know the procedures to go through," the Observer quoted Muhoozi.
The long-simmering suspicions came to the fore some three years ago (May 2013), when the then army coordinator of intelligence services, Gen David Sejusa, in a leaked memo, instructed a top spymaster to probe a suspected plot to bump off top government officials opposed to the plan.
Gen Sejusa later fled to exile in London after being threatened with charges of offending the UPDF Act. But he has since returned and will appear in the High Court on Friday to hear a ruling on whether he is still a serving military officer.
Sudden rise to high positions
Critics allege Muhoozi’s sudden elevation is part of a plan by Museveni to install his son as his successor.
But the government denies any such plans exists. The spokesman for the special command forces, Major Chris Magezi, told VOA in an interview, the allegations were unfounded.
“That criticism is very misplaced," he said, "and it goes a long way to elaborate the nature of our local politics here. Just because Muhoozi Kainerugaba is the son of the president should not and must never take away his effort as an individual, his commitment to serve the armed forces. The armed forces, which is one of the options which he chose among many, I think is one of the toughest options he could have gone for. He has done a very brilliant job."
The 42-year-old Muhoozi received his training in 1994 before formally joining the Forces in 1999, according to the army.
“There is a process. There is a commission’s board that looks at each case by case and decides. So you have never heard of a message where I promote myself. It is always [by the] promotions board. That is the process of the military,” Maj Gen Muhoozi said.
President Museveni (72) was elected to a fifth term in the February elections with 61 percent of the vote. The opposition led by Kizza Besigye and EU monitors said the election was held in an intimidating atmosphere and was not free or fair.
The Ugandan Constitution through Article 102(b), persons above 75 years are barred from contesting for the presidency. The Ugandan leader who is extending his 30-year-old rule since he took power in 1986, promised he will obey the law.
Image credit: New Vision