To someone who is not well-acquainted with Uganda’s politics, the impression is that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, are in a race for the presidency in 2026. Against each other.
The two are mobilising with almost the same vigour, on the same scale and exactly for the same presidential term, 2026-2031. In October of this year alone, youth in Rukiga, Buganda, Teso and Greater Mpigi endorsed Gen Museveni for presidency, 2026-2031.
On November 2 this year, The New Vision reported that the first national vice chairperson of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), Moses Kigongo, endorsed the incumbent, President Museveni, for presidency, 2026-2031.
“President Yoweri Museveni’s track record is evident enough to show that he is still the best striker with visionary leadership and has our interests at heart. This is, therefore, why he is endorsed to lead our party and country over and over again,” the newspaper quoted Hajji Kigongo.
Kigongo said the words on November 1 during the launch of the 2026 Museveni presidential drive, dubbed ‘Omalako Jajja Tova ku Main.’ On October 30, in Isingiro district, on an event that was attended by Museveni’s young brother and paternal uncle to Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Michael Nuwagira alias Toyota, the youths endorsed Muhoozi for presidency, 2026-2031.
During Muhoozi’s nation-wide birthday celebrations, it was not uncommon to see youths donning shirts and other paraphernalia bearing messages endorsing Muhoozi for presidency, 2026-2031.
Even today, youths on the streets of Kampala, boda boda riders, street vendors etc. still put on T-shirts, jumpers, caps etc. with messages endorsing Muhoozi for presidency in 2026. On November 11, 2022, the MK Army organised an event at Uganda Museum at which the new leadership of MK Army was elected.
The event was attended by some notable faces - Frank Gashumba; Lawrence Muganga, the vice chancellor of Victoria University, Michael Mawanda, the member of parliament for Igara East; events promoter Balaam Barugahara and other Ugandans from different regions of the country. MK Army’s cardinal objective is to mobilize political support for Muhoozi towards 2026.
A spectator who doesn’t understand our politics well might get a false impression that Muhoozi is in a race for power against his father. Whereas Muhoozi is a Ugandan who has a right to harbour and pursue presidential ambitions, the reality is that Museveni can frustrate his ambitions if he (Museveni) so wishes.
The fact that Muhoozi, a serving military officer, engages in partisan-politics-talk with impunity proves that Museveni isn’t keen on stopping his mobilisations. Further still, the comments Museveni made during Muhoozi’s birthday dinner held at Entebbe this year speak volumes.
He said: “I am patient with corruption but Muhoozi isn’t. He will fight corruption.” It is almost lucid that Museveni consented and most probably still consents to Muhoozi’s political mobilisations.
So, to claim that Muhoozi is a force against Museveni’s presidency is to deviate sharply from reality. It is of immense political potency for the regime if the discussion on 2026 presidential elections gets centred on Museveni and the son, but it’s a false dichotomy because the two aren’t the only potential options for Uganda in the 2026 presidential elections.
But if the state can consistently supress activities of other major opposition political parties with the determination it has demonstrated in the last three years, the impression that the presidency in 2026 is about Museveni and his son will become stronger in the eyes of ordinary voters.
The supression will strategically and gradually eliminate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, Museveni’s main opponent and Muhoozi’s perceived future main opponent, and other major political opposition players from the game because politics is largely a game of perception.
When the options are reduced to two -- Museveni and the son -- the dynasty idea, with a republic coating, will become more viable in Uganda.
The author is a Ugandan citizen.