The recent media reports about the famed “Muhoozi project” have generated curiosity at home and abroad.
The question that many people are asking is whether President Museveni is preparing Brig Kainerugaba Muhoozi, the First Son, to inherit the presidency like many African dictators do. Recently, Brig (rtd) Kasirye Gwanga fired the first salvo in the media, warning that a possible Muhoozi presidency would not only split the military and the country, but was objectionable within the security circles.
Had Gwanga spoken about this “Muhoozi project” in isolation and moved on, the issue would not have gained gravity, in the manner it has now. Therefore, the additional voice of a top security figure, Gen David Sejusa, on this matter, has given it a form, shape and life of a dragon.
On the face of it, NRM apologists would argue, Muhoozi’s presidential bid is a mere illusion. However, we all know how Mr Museveni operates. We can contend that this media buzz about the ‘Muhoozi project’ is a plot by the calculative Museveni to first test the idea of a Muhoozi inheritance of power.
Through his soldiers, he wants to prepare the landscape for the public acquaintance with a Muhoozi presidency. For Muhoozi, it is easy to develop a sense of entitlement to the presidency. After all, his father worked for it, built it for him and helped him build a personal army [Special Forces Command] within the UPDF for his defence.
If you follow Ugandan politics, you will easily recognise how Museveni has become so predictable these days. He has become blunt and his frustrations are no longer camouflaged. In the past, he used decoy and other guerilla war strategies to hoodwink the population into the trenches.
For instance, in the late 1990s he used the most hated and feared man at the time, Maj Roland Kakooza Mutale, as a bait to smuggle back into cabinet individuals that had been censured as ministers before. He nominated him to cabinet alongside the Sam Kutesas, leading to a public debate about his (Mutale’s) suitability to serve as a minister. In the ensuing, Kutesa was approved.
Most analysts will agree that this government has redefined public relations as a game of denial. So, whatever secret agenda they have in private will be ferociously denied of its existence in public. The truth is that the Muhoozi project is a well-orchestrated plot by a powerful group of regime loyalist and evidence is there to corroborate its existence, development and subsequent manifestation.
First, it took Muhoozi less than 12 years to rise to the rank of brigadier in the army, a rank that many officers never attain even when they serve the army diligently for 40 years. The biased selection of Muhoozi to go for military training in some of the best military academies in the world, in the UK, US and South Africa is a living testimony that this man is being prepared for a big mission in future.
Finally, Muhoozi’s leadership of the SFC, the elite military unit, places him in charge of a ‘private army’ within the UPDF. In this unit, most of its officers were handpicked through very rigorous procedures to ensure loyalty. Most of these officers, men and women are westerners like the president.
The revelations by Sejusa, therefore, should not be taken lightly as recommended by Dr Crispus Kiyonga, the minister of Defence. Gen Sejusa is not some pet shop boy around town. He has been the coordinator of intelligence services for a while now and knows fully what he is talking about.
The author is a Ugandan social critic based in Toronto, Canada.