Since 1902

Museveni's first son Muhoozi: clear signs of a succession plan

May 24th 2022
Lt. General Muhoozi Kainerugaba speaks during his birthday party in Entebbe, Uganda May 7, 2022. [Reuters]

He has also held regional engagements with Rwanda’s Kagame, whom he refers to as his ‘uncle’.

Following a meeting between the two men in Kigali in January, Rwanda finally agreed to reopen its border with Uganda.

It had been closed for three years following Kigali’s accusations that Uganda had been harbouring members of the opposition Rwandan National Congress.

The perception that Muhoozi’s intervention has been key in mending the frosty relationship between the two countries was reinforced by a further meeting, again in Kigali, in March. After this, Muhoozi and Kagame announced a broader bilateral agreement to stop supporting dissidents in each other’s countries.

Shortly afterward, Rwandan opposition blogger, and former journalist, Robert Mukombozi, who had been living in Kampala, was pictured at Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport. Muhoozi confirmed on Twitter that Mukombozi had been expelled, describing him as an “enemy of Rwanda and Uganda”.

It was not clear where Mukombozi was going, although it was possibly to Australia, with which he has ties.

The First Son has recently become vocal on social media about many aspects of Ugandan politics and its foreign affairs. In many cases, his stances appear to have contradicted some of the official positions of the Ugandan government.

These include his tweets in support of Tigrayan rebels in Ethiopia’s civil war, and Russian President Vladimir Putin in his invasion of Ukraine. Alarming to many is not just the positions Muhoozi has taken, but the egotistic tone of his discourse. He frequently likens himself to military and revolutionary figures throughout history.

Yet, across the country and online, multiple ‘Team MK’ or ‘MK 2026’ groups are popping up to support his future presidential run.

What’s coming?

The most likely explanation for Muhoozi’s recent emergence is that his once low profile is being raised to position him to succeed his father.  However, the pathway for Muhoozi to reach State House is far from guaranteed.

The public would expect him to win an election to legitimise his leadership. In so doing he would potentially face 2021 candidate Bobi Wine in fierce competition for the nation’s increasingly young electorate.

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