Vice President Maj Jessica Alupo, Interior Minister Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, and Defence Minister Vincent Sempijja are among the leaders who have signed a letter of support for President Yoweri Museveni's re-election bid in 2026.
On Saturday, the ministers attended the belated Mitooma District Youth Day celebrations at Bubangizi secondary school playground, which were held under the theme "Unleashing the Potential and Role of Youth in Nation Development."
Museveni, 78, has ruled since 1986. In 2026, he will be 82 years old. In perhaps the clearest indication that Museveni will run again in 2026, Justice Minister Norbert Mao told youths in Mitooma that the president assigned him the task of organizing a consensus for transition in Uganda starting 2031.
According to Mao, the transition will be in three phases; consensus, endorsement and implementation of what will be agreed upon.
"I appeal for your support people of Mitooma and I know Gen Otafiire will support me in a bigger assignment that President Yoweri Museveni has given me to organise consensus - that is what we need. The transition will be in three phases. Phase I is the one we're on, phase II is the one I saw you people signing on although some signatures are not clear. Phase II is to implement what we have agreed upon. I believe by 2031 we shall have a new Uganda...Keep yourselves healthy so that you're there [ in 2031]. Uganda will be built on the dreams of the young people and I'm here to challenge you to dream big. Know your value. It is not about where you're from, it is about where you're going," said Mao.
It remains to be seen what effect the 'endorsement' will have on Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba's hopes of succeeding his father in 2026. He was already rallying young people across the country to back him in 2026.
Muhoozi had used the excuse of his birthday celebrations to tour the country and garner support for his presidential campaign until they were abruptly halted. Alupo stated that the endorsement issue will be brought before the ruling NRM party's central executive committee (CEC) first for consistency.
"What we have signed today is already supported by the 70% of Uganda's population and therefore we other segments now, elders, women will just come to reinforce in order for us to achieve success in 2026. We shall table that matter before HE the president and before CEC so that there is uniformity and there is also an agreed position," she said.
"I know that many of you have been taken through ideological training. That ideology should be speaking out in your mind all the time. Youth of Mitooma what is your ideology, Ankole what is our ideology? I would like you to be mindful that what you're known for, what your plans are, what you wish to do. How you conduct yourself with others as a team is what exemplifies your ideology. I would like to encourage you to recognise the fact that youth is just a transition. You're a youth today, you will be another category of person tomorrow. And that category of person you will be tomorrow, maybe now me now, maybe honourable Otafiire or someone else. So let's work in harmony regardless of age," added Alupo.
Otafiire used the occasion to warn the youth against fights that are based on religious and ethnic grounds which can destroy what has been set by the NRM government. Otafiire said that the youth should not be driven by the forces of change but rather fight for the right cause, rejecting negative philosophy and avoiding fighting wars of ethnicity and religion. He instead urged them to avoid conflict but sit down to resolve it and learn to emulate the good examples of current leaders.
Damian Turiomuriwe, the youth chairperson for Kashenshero sub county, pleaded with the government to revise, reform and re-establish, the youth livelihood program by incorporating new lessons and challenges learnt noting that the youth currently have no specific intervention since the youth livelihood program was recapitalization was halted to cater for the new Parish Development Model.