Ugandan president promotes his son to military chief

Muhoozi Kainerugaba

Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni (79) has promoted his son general Muhoozi Kainerugaba (49) to head the military.

His promotion comes amid a major cabinet reshuffle in which five ministers were sacked.

In power since 1986, Museveni has denied speculation that he is grooming his only son as his successor.

General Kainerugaba is a controversial figure, becoming increasingly involved in the political arena, in breach of military protocols.

In 2022, his father sacked him as commander of the army’s land forces after he made threats on Twitter, now known as X, to invade neighbouring Kenya.

President Museveni issued an apology to Kenya’s leader and asked Kenyans for “forgiveness” on behalf of his son.

However, general Kainerugaba’s offending tweet has never been removed, he was promoted to general and retained as his father’s adviser.

He followed up with another controversial post that said he would send troops to Moscow to help president Vladimir Putin defend Russia against Ukraine.

He now replaces general Wilson Mbadi as head of the country’s defence forces – with his predecessor moving to head the trade ministry.

Two of general Kainerugaba’s closest advisers have also been named as ministers in the reshuffle.

Reaction to general Kainerugaba’s promotion has sparked concern.

Opposition lawmaker Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda told AFP news agency that president Museveni was treating Uganda as “a personal enterprise of his family”.

He condemned the appointment and said Ugandans needed to oppose the “family dynasty”.

After the 2021 elections, the opposition accused president Museveni, his son and other officials of torture and abductions.

The president’s spokesperson denied these claims and told The New York Times his political rivals were “peddling wrong information”.

General Kainerugaba has said he would run for president in the 2026 election, in a now deleted X post.

He has recently been holding rallies and mobilising support around the country, which has drawn criticism in some quarters.

He joined the army in 1999 and has had a meteoric rise. His ascent to power has been dubbed the “Muhoozi Project” by local media. – BBC

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