The new Presidential advisor on Special Operations formerly the commander of Special Forces Command Maj General Muhoozi Kainerugaba has come under spotlight by political pundits analyzing his recent appointment as a move for him to join politics anytime, with some calling this as the final part of the Muhoozi project that will see him succeed his father Yoweri Museveni.
However, much Gen. Muhoozi has on several occasions distanced himself from the so-called Muhoozi project, signs show that he is narrowly quitting the UPDF to live a civilian life that allows him to join politics anytime he deems fit.
Infact Democratic Party president Nobert Mao while addressing the press condemned Gen. Muhoozi’s appointment as presidential advisor on special operations citing worry about the timing and the political line he is taking.
“Don’t be surprised if tomorrow you see him in Parliament, the next day as Minister of Defence, then Vice President and finally President. This is his timing,” Mr. Mao held.
The soft spoken Muhoozi Kainerugaba while addressing the press several times since the inception of the Muhoozi project has denied that he harbors presidential ambitions and is working hard to professionalize his career.
But one would question him/herself, “Is the father dreaming for the son, or the father is forcing the son to take up a career he is not interested in or the son is not about to let the cat out of the bag?”
Muhoozi who is one of Uganda’s fastest promoted soldiers has been given special assignments ever since he joined the army in 1999. He was appointed to command the Special Forces command (SFC) which is responsible for providing security to the President, VIP protection and control of key installations with in the country, a position he held and was promoted to Maj General in the same position.
He started military training in 1994 after he left high school. He then attended the University of Nottingham from 1996 till 1998. But he did not formally join the UPDF until 1999. That year, he was married and soon after, was admitted to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, graduating in 2000. He was later admitted to Egyptian Military Academy where he took both the company and battalion commanders courses. He has also attended the Kalama Armoured Warfare Training School, in Kabamba, Mubende District, Central Uganda.
In 2007, Gen Muhoozi was admitted to a one-year course at the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, graduating in June 2008. Following that, he successfully completed the Executive National Security Programme at the South African National Defence College.
His last promotion to that rank drew sharp criticism from both the public and some members of the army (preferred anonymity) questioning why and worried about the timing of the promotion.
The Special Forces Command spokesman Maj Chris Magezi defended his promotion saying he was being elevated to a service which automatically should be commanded by a person at the rank of Major General.
“The Army leadership for some time now has been discussing a proposal to transform the UPDF Special Forces into a service, in line with other modern armies around the world. The UPDF currently boosts of only two services: the Land and Air Forces,” Magezi said
The question still remains on why the current commander is at the rank of Colonel (Colonel Don Nabasa) was the elevation, ideally, Muhoozi’s successor in the same position should have been a Major General.
Just like any father would want the son to attain better education for the best future, he took Muhoozi to Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (Officer Cadet Course), Egyptian Military Academy (Company Commander’s Course and Battalion Commander’s Course), Kalama Armored Warfare Training School (Armored Warfare Course), US Army Command and General Staff College (Senior Military Command Course) and South African National Defence College (Executive National Security Course).
In 2015 and 2016, a group of youth claiming to be part of the Muhoozi project were holding several undercover campaigns in universities, schools, and communities until they were uncovered by the media the same allegations that Maj Chris Magezi refuted at that time.
“Afande Muhoozi wishes to unequivocally state that he has no knowledge about that group of youth and what they claim to represent. He has never met or interacted with any of them and therefore the views and opinions they have been propagating are solely their own,” he insisted.
Over the recent past, Gen. Muhoozi has been delegated by his father to preside over a number of functions especially those with the youths such as in Mutundwe in Kampala and church fundraising services like St Paul Bulega Church of Uganda in Garuga near Entebbe Town where he represented the Commander of Operation Wealth Creation, General Caleb Akandwanaho (Salim Saleh), who is a resident of the area.
His frequent visits to St. Mary’s College Kisubi, his former school have also been questioned with some looking at it as a move to gain support from the catholic fraternity in Uganda when he launches bid for presidency.
The last time he was there, he was presiding over a thanksgiving mass to celebrate the work of four long serving brothers of the Catholic Church. Two brothers, Joseph Tinkasimire, 79, from Fort Portal Diocese and Peter Kazzekulya from Kasana Luweero Diocese celebrating diamond jubilee (60 years) and golden jubilee (50 years) of religious life respectively.
In a recent exclusive interview with NTV, the young General said he was not taking a political path but rather wants to focus on advising the president on special operations which to him did not have a bigger difference with the activities he was undertaking during the period in which he was in charge of Special Forces Command.
However, when asked if he would join politics in the near future, he said he would need to retire from the army first before making that decision which automatically signaled that he was interested.
Several politicians and individuals have in the past used the same tone to respond to such allegations which in most cases have turned out to be true.
A case in point is former prime minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi with his infamous saying “I will tell you when the right time comes.”
Uganda being a country full of surprises, a lot remains to be desired from the first son who holds the docket of advising his father on special operations.
By Sadiiki Adams