President Yoweri Museveni will be bringing his son, Maj Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to succeed him, a senior UPDF official has said.
“Museveni is bringing his son,” Brig. Kasirye Ggwanga told BBS television while reacting to the proposed amendment of the constitution to remove the presidential age limit clause.
“He [Museveni] will bring his son to succeed him. Do you expect him to bring you instead of his son? All you can do is get some to stand against him in elections,” he stated.
Brig. Gen Kasirye Ggwanga, known of his cantankerous nature, said this will not be the first time the Ugandan constitution is abrogated.
“I have seen that constitution being changed all the time. That clause [on presidential age limit] will be removed,” the Brigadier said.
He recalled that the constitution was amended in 2005 to scrap term limits hence allowing Museveni to stand again and start pursuing the life presidency dream.
“They changed it in 2005 and removed term limits. What’s new? It’s not new,” Ggwanga said.
“When it comes to age limit, that story…ask someone else. If you think you will chase away Museveni basing on years, I pity you.”
In 2013, the controversial army general warned Museveni against the idea of his son, succeeding him as president, saying such a move would be met with stiff resistance from the military.
Then a senior presidential adviser on security in Buganda, Ggwanga said Muhoozi project publicised by Gen David Sejusa would cause instability in the country.
Sejusa even fled to exile in UK after writing a document alleging senior army officials and legislators would be killed in a move to push Muhoozi into the presidency.
“Succession talk is useless and the moment he comes up with his son as a successor, he has got problems with Kasirye Ggwanga. (There should be) no civilian politics in the army. Don’t underestimate us, otherwise you are playing with fire,” Brig. Ggwanga told Daily Monitor.
Asked to explain further, Brig. Ggwanga said: “But who is succeeding who? Whom did Gen. Museveni succeed? He came fighting! We were all fighting. I am 60 years old and we have seen it all!”
He added: “Let me warn that boy (Brig. Muhoozi), not even to think of taking over Uganda. Uganda will take care of itself.”
Museveni has not publicly said he wants his son to succeed him as President.
However, Brig Muhoozi’s meteoric rise to the top of the army leadership in 15 years has been the subject of debate.
In January this year, Museveni named Muhoozi a Senior Presidential Advisor for Special Operations.
Kainerugaba, 42, who was Special Forces Commander in charge of the president’s security and other sensitive installations in the country.
Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, won a new five-year term in elections last year that the opposition said were rigged.
Analysts have said Kainerugaba’s appointment is part of a plan to groom him to take over the top job.
Political rivals have regularly accused the 72-year-old President of handing powerful positions to members of his family and adopting an increasingly autocratic style – charges his supporters dismiss.
His brother, Salim Saleh, is another presidential adviser and his wife, Janet Museveni, is minister of education.
“Muhoozi … is going to play a significant role in a post-Museveni Uganda, there’s no doubt about it,” political commentator and rights activist Nicholas Opiyo told Reuters early this year.
Opiyo added: “He is just giving the boy a hand in experiencing how government works on the side of politics.”
Human rights lawyer and political commentator, Andrew Karamagi, also told Reuters the appointment was a “real clear move to bring the man closer to succession”.
Kainerugaba has risen quickly through the ranks since he joined the army in 1998. He jumped two positions from 2nd Lieutenant to Major in 2001.