Why Uganda's Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba is guilty of aggression against Kenya

Twitter joker: Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba. [File, Standard]

After the joke was tweeted last week, may all of us be informed that invaders are met by national defense forces and the people’s wrath, while perpetrators are dealt with by multilateral institutions. Uganda’s Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s provocative tweet on October 3, 2022, was a call for regional destabilisation and a declaration of war on the sovereign nation of Kenya.

 For now, the general who is also the oldest son of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, stands accused of the imaginary capture of Nairobi. 

Since he has apologised and explained it was a joke and was in charge of his Twitter account, his apologies didn’t wash. This was an outright diplomatic embarrassment to the peaceful and friendly relations between the two countries. 

President Museveni promoted the son to a full general from Lt. General but removed the command of land forces from him making him a general only by name.

Where did the idea of capturing Nairobi come from? Was it because of the recent pronouncement by President William Ruto that Kenya will play an active role in restoring peace in DR Congo and that some foreign interests, including mineral and natural resources, might have been threatened? 

Peace mission

A KDF detachment is in the DRC under the AU/UN peace mission framework and it’s not the first time for us. Kenya’s second Vice President Joseph Murumbi under instructions from Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, who had been mandated by OAU Secretary-General Diallo Kifle Wadajo of Ethiopia, mediated the Congo crisis in 1964.

 Ge. Muhoozi was least knowledgeable on the wish that uhuru should have gone for a third term because the Kenyan constitution does not allow one to be at the helm for more than two terms of five years each.

Kenyatta simply respected the constitution. We exactly do not know what was going on in Gen. Muhoozi’s mind. In Runyankole, Muhoozi means vengeance.

 Kenya has facilitated Uganda’s imports and exports through the port of Mombasa.

President Uhuru Kenyatta. General Muhoozi Kainerugaba at State House, Nairobi. [Standard]

Thirty-seven years ago, we facilitated the 1985 Nairobi peace talks between the military government of Uganda and the Museveni-led National Resistance Movement (NRM) and hosted thousands of Ugandan teachers in our schools during Idi Amin’s regime. 

Kenya provides the great north road that the general imagines destroying on his way to Nairobi.

Wise counsel

As I stated earlier, Gen. Muhoozi’s was a diplomatic blunder, and Kenya citing threats to her national security could have easily expelled the Ugandan high commissioner awaiting clarification on the same according to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961. 

Wise counsel was against such a move because Kenya has a peace project to implement in the region. 

Since the government of the son of Amos Kaguta disowned the tweet, this must be treated as a bad joke, undiplomatic and uncalled-for attitude.

Amos Kaguta, Museveni’s father, served in the Kings African Rifles in World War II in the seventh battalion hence the president’s name, Museveni, which is derived from “The Seventh”. Soldiers from the battalion were referred to as “Abaseveni”

People’s resilience and national security

For the record in February 1976, Idi Amin the president of Uganda played monkey tricks by claiming a large part of Kenya having been incited by Said Barre of Somalia who had laid similar claims on northeastern Kenya. Jomo Kenyatta president of Kenya then declared that Kenya would ruthlessly deal with neighbours who publicly expressed their sinister intentions. 

Kenyatta instructed his vice president Daniel Arap Moi to summon the USA ambassador to Kenya Antony Marshall to emphasize the urgent need for financial and military assistance. 

Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and Id Amin in the 70s. In 1976,  Amin claimed Kenya's territory all the way to Naivasha. [File, Standard]

By April 1976 US Secretary of State Dr Henry Kissinger on the instructions of President Gerald Ford arrived in Nairobi to firm up the US commitments. 

On July 4, 1976, the USA stood with Kenya and provided a P-3 Orion fighter plane and stationed a frigate in Mombasa. President Ruto recently in the USA discussed Kenya- USA strategic partnership.


Like Kenyatta’s time, Kenya has many friends, partners, and tools to deal with any threats real or imagined. According to the global firepower index updated January 14, 2022, Kenya is ranked 81 while Uganda is ranked 92 out of 142 countries analyzed.

 Kenya’s GDP is $87.9B and ranked 66th largest economy in the world compared to Uganda’s $27.5B and ranked 104th in 2021. These are major factors in the mobilization of defense resources of a country.

Furthermore, historical facts indicate that Kenya is a country of resilient people. Civilian resistance to external aggression is instant and coordinated. 


C.W. Hobley, British administrative officer at Nabongo Mumia suffered a humiliating defeat from Ababukusu for trying to engage them in an expedition at Chitambe War of 1895 just at the border of Kenya east of Uganda.

In 1895-1906 the Nandi resistance kept the British out of their territory and had earlier forced slave traders out of their route. 

The Agikuyu did the same in Lari and Dagoreti. Our infantry and air force are lethal and very much present. Where would one find less than two weeks to capture Nairobi?

Crime of aggression

It is defined as acts of planning, initiation, or execution of a large-scale and serious act of aggression using the state military. Accordingly, Muhoozi’s tweet if verified, amounts to an act of aggression punishable by multilateral institutions.

Multilateral institutions

Chapter vii, article39-51 of the UN charter states that the Security Council shall determine the existence of such threats to peace and provide through a resolution, armed force, assistance, and facilities including rights to passage to maintain international peace. 

The Rome Statute system adopted a resolution on the crime of aggression on December 15, 2017. Kenya and Uganda’s rectified the ICC Act in 2010 as member 60 and 112 respectively.

The Africa Union was not left behind. According to article 28A (1)(14) of the Malabo Protocol, the Africa Court of justice shall have the power to try persons for the crime of aggression. 


The East African Court of Justice also deals with issues of genocide, crime against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression among others.

 On the other hand, Inter-Governmental Authority on Development(IGAD) plays a crucial role in agenda setting thus directing African and other global responses to conflict in the region.

 In conclusion, threats to bilateral peace will always lead to security and economic consequences of regional and global ramifications. 

Kenya and Uganda should be lead member states in forging regional integration. The bilateral and multilateral approaches in solving global issues should be our shield and defender. Everybody and everything is a loser in a conflict situation

 Dr. Paul Kurgat - Expert in Tact & Strategy in Diplomacy and Foreign Policy


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