First Son Muhoozi Kainerugaba was on Monday elevated to major general, the current third-highest rank in the army.
Muhoozi’s promotion brings him into an exclusive club of barely 15 major generals in the country and makes him even more influential both in rank and job portfolio.
As commander of the Special Forces Command, whose primary duty is to secure the president and his family and political inner circle, Muhoozi outranks many generals in terms of office.
According to some insiders, Muhoozi’s promotion also strengthens President Museveni’s firm grip and reach in the army, whose leadership is now dominated by young officers, who, like Muhoozi, joined UPDF after the 1986 war. For someone who by 1998 was still attending a cadet course at Kabamba army school, his meteoric rise to a two-star general is unprecedented in recent times.
Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza spent 24 years as a brigadier before his elevation while Henry Tumukunde, until his promotion to Lieutenant General last year, had spent 15 years at the rank of brigadier.
In five years, Muhoozi has moved up three ranks (colonel, brigadier and major general), leapfrogging some of the 27 armed men who launched the NRA bush war in 1981.
These are Col Fred Mwesigye, who is the MP for Nyabushoozi and Brig Andrew Lutaaya, who has since retired into private business. Muhoozi’s new rank also puts him one step below the rank of two distinguished officers who have occupied the office of deputy chief of defence forces: Lt Gen Ivan Koreta and Joram Mugume, who was promoted to Lt general on Monday.
Some of the other officers who rose swiftly through the ranks are the late Brig Noble Mayombo, who joined the bush war in 1985 and Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, who was promoted to major general in 1989 when he was appointed as army commander.
Questions have been raised about Muhoozi’s meteoric rise, but Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, the army spokesman, told The Observer yesterday that he could not comment specifically about Muhoozi’s rise.
OTHER MAJOR GENERALS
Maj Gen (rtd) Jim Muhwezi
He joined the army in 1982 with General David Sejusa and liberated the country in 1986 alongside President Museveni. Muhwezi while still in the army served as director general of the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) before joining politics. He is outgoing minister of Information and National Guidance.
Maj Gen Wilson Mbadi
He is currently the UPDF chief of staff. He is considered to have been the longest-serving aide de-camp, ADC, to President Museveni. After leaving State House, Mbadi was appointed as commander of the 3rd division in Moroto and was promoted to the rank of brigadier.
Mbadi served not more than six months before he was elevated to the rank of Major General and made chief of staff.
Maj Gen David Muhoozi
He is currently the commander of Land forces. He hails from Mbarara district and joined the army in 1985. He attended several military courses before his elevation to commander of the land forces.
Maj Gen James Mugira
He is the chairman of the National Enterprise Corporation. He joined the army in 1985 with late Brig Patrick Kankiriho. Mugira served as the director of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) for some time before he was transferred to Luwero industries.
Maj Gen (rtd) Kahinda Otafiire
He is the outgoing minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs and hails from Mitooma district. Otafiire joined the army in the 1980s and is an NRA bush war veteran. Otafiire participated in the Congo war with late James Kazini, and Salim Saleh, among others.
Maj Gen Fred Mugisha
He is the commander of anti-terrorism unit which was formed in 2013. Mugisha also served as the commander of the African Union troops in Somalia.
Maj Gen Nathan Mugisha
He has served before as deputy commander of Amison in Somalia.
Maj Gen Pecos Kutesa
He is the chief of UPDF Doctrine. He also served as the head of the reserve force in the UPDF. Kutesa is a ranking bush war hero and served in different capacities in the army.
Maj Gen Geoffrey Muheesi
He is currently the deputy commander of Amison in Somalia. He served as head of President Museveni’s security when it was still called the Presidential Protection Unit (PPU). He also participated in the Congo war alongside Maj Gen Otafiire and Maj Gen James Kazini, among others.
Maj Gen Julius Oketta
He is the director of the National Emergency and Coordination operations in the Office of the Prime Minister. Oketta served in various capacities in the army.
Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza
He is currently the military attaché in Burundi and he is also the NRM vice chairperson, western Uganda. Kyaligonza served in various capacities in the army and is a celebrated bush war hero.
Maj Gen Sam Turyagyenda
He is the commander of air force.
Maj Gen Francis Okello
He served as the second commander of Amison in 2008-2009. He also commanded the UPDF Rapid Deployment Capability Centre.