KAMPALA, Uganda — He has boasted that he could capture the capital of neighboring Kenya in two weeks. He has offered a dowry of 100 cows to marry the new Prime Minister of Italy. And he has claimed that the majority of “non-white” people around the world supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
With a barrage of provocative tweets in the past year, Muhoozi Kainerugaba—the 48-year-old military General son of the President of Uganda—has unnerved Ugandans and regional allies, and has become an embarrassment to President Yoweri Museveni, who he publicly berated his eldest son and vowed to stop tweeting.
But General Kainerugaba keeps tweeting as he tries to position himself to succeed his father, a Western military ally whose landlocked nation receives nearly $1 billion a year from the United States.
His father has wielded increasingly authoritarian control over the country for 37 years, a six-term president who at 78 is already gaining support to run in the 2026 election. Ugandan political experts say it is unlikely that ever give up power. As he winds down the president, experts say he’s trying to line up his son as his successor, but he’s reluctant to fully endorse him, partly because of the tweets.
“Museveni now realizes that he does not have full control of his son,” said a Western official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “He’s pretty self-absorbed, and that weighs on people’s assessment of whether he’s fit for the presidency.”
“There is a lot of pressure on the succession issue, and Muhoozi is an insurance policy,” said Michael Mutyaba, a political analyst.
General Kainerugaba declined multiple interview requests through a spokesman, and President Museveni’s spokesman did not respond.
Since coming to power in 1986, Museveni has changed laws to stay in office and has subjected activists and Opposition members to arbitrary arrests, disappearances and torture. Two years ago, he declared victory after a bloody election fraught with accusations of vote rigging.
General Kainerugaba has said that he will “definitely” become President. His supporters have plastered his photo on billboards and posted fawning messages on social media.
General Kainerugaba was born in Tanzania while his father was fighting against the government of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. In 2012, he became head of the Special Forces Command, an elite unit that protects Museveni and his interests. The unit has been accused of human rights violations. General Kainerugaba has also faced accusations personally.
Helen Epstein, author of “Another Fine Mess: America, Uganda and the War on Terror,” said her tweets remind her of the rhetoric of Amin, who killed tens of thousands.
For now, he said, “he’s an unknown element.”
By: ABDI LATIF DAHIR
BBC-NEWS-SRC: http://www.nytsyn.com/subscribed/stories/6535706, IMPORTING DATE: 2023-01-18 21:40:07
#Dynasty #dreams #Uganda
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