Public celebrations celebrating the son of the Ugandan leader are raising concerns that he is aiming for the presidency after years of being prepared to succeed his father, President Yoweri Museveni, who has held power since 1986.
In recent days, three events have been organized in the capital Kampala to mark the 48th birthday of Lieutenant General Muhuzi Kenerugaba, and in other parts of the East African country his supporters have held lively rallies, which he said would be his favorite. Tribute to the future President.
The most recent event, Saturday’s Thanksgiving ceremony, which was attended by top government officials and military officials, was attended by hundreds of people.
Kennerugaba, who commands Ugandan infantry, has been increasingly vocal in Twitter posts in which he mentioned his desire to rule Uganda. He spoke of increasing the sports budget in favor of young people “if winning power in this country”. And he says that he will announce his political program soon.
Referring to the recent rallies on May 2, he said, “The fact is that people who used to abuse me on a daily basis are now being forced to swallow my words by the people.” image.
Supporters of Kenerugaba say he offers Uganda an opportunity for a peaceful transfer of power in a country that has had none since independence from British colonial rule in 1962. But opposition leaders, critics and others eager for change say his rise is leading the East African country. Towards hereditary rule.
Kennerugaba’s birthday celebration should be seen as a formal introduction to “the prince and heir to the throne of Uganda”, critic Munini K. Mulera wrote in a column in the local Daily Monitor newspaper. “Museveni has entered his last lap of a long walk towards the realization of a fifty-year-old dream of establishing a dynastic rule,” he wrote.
Kenerugaba is also facing legal scrutiny. Because Ugandan law prohibits a serving military officer from being involved in partisan affairs, some say that Kenerugaba has already crossed the border. He explains that other military officers discussing politics were humiliated.
A Ugandan lawyer filed a petition in the Constitutional Court last week seeking to declare Kenerugaba’s political activities illegal. That petition also sought to prosecute Cannerugaba for alleged treason, alleging that his activities were destabilizing him.
Cannerugaba joined the military in the late 1990s, and his rise to the top of the armed forces has been controversial, with critics dubbing it a “Muhuzi Project” to prepare him for the presidency.
Museveni and Kenerugaba themselves have denied the existence of such a plan, but it appears a transition is now underway as 77-year-old Museveni could complete his final term without a recognizable successor within his government.
Museveni has not said when he will retire. He has no rival within the ruling National Resistance Movement party, as many believe the military will play a role in choosing his successor.
Most of the Jungle War heroes who ended years of civil conflict and began Museveni’s presidency have since died or retired from the military, placing authority in the hands of young military officers, who see Cannerugaba as their leader.
According to observers, Kenerugaba, the pillar of his father’s personal security apparatus, is now the de facto chief of the army, with his allies strategically positioned in command positions in the security services.
Kennerugaba’s allies describe him as a dedicated military officer who often avoids ostentatious displays of power and wealth. He attended military schools in the US and UK before taking over the Presidential Guard unit, which has since expanded into an elite group of special forces.
A silent figure, Kennerugaba lacks the public charisma and folk style of Museveni, who has retained power by bargaining with his political rivals and even convincing some to serve in his government. .
Museveni, a US ally on regional security, is often credited with restoring relative peace and security to Uganda. But in recent years he has faced increasing criticism for rights abuses against opposition supporters.
Popular singer Bobbie Wines, who challenged Museveni in elections last year, accused Kenerugaba security agents of torture. Vine, whose real name is Kayagulani Sesentamu, has repeatedly urged the US to cut support for the Ugandan military.
Some analysts say Museveni is unlikely to retire but could use his remaining years to pave the way for Cannrugaba to succeed.
The next presidential election in Uganda is due in 2026.
Nicolas Sengoba, a political analyst based in Kampala, said that although a Cannrugaba presidency is not inevitable, he could create “a significant mass of support” among soldiers and businessmen to eventually take power. He added that Kennerugaba’s public events are intended to “test the waters” as Museveni anticipates public support for the family’s rule.
“The son helps strengthen the father,” he said. “The father now helps the son because he is in charge.”