For months, Ugandans have been speculating about the actions of first son General Muhoozi Kainerugaba on social media and in real life.
From controversial opinions about the Ugandan army ability to storm Kenya’s capital city Nairobi in two weeks to complicating the country’s diplomatic relations by siding with Russia in the Ukraine conflict.
But far and away, his most controversial statement, repeated several times, has been how he intends to succeed his father and current Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. Many have wondered if President Museveni is aware of his son’s ambitions or statements.
All this was put to rest on May 3, 2023. Two weeks ago, President Museveni met a group of people that call themselves the central committee of the MK movement, led by his son General Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
The meeting that took place at Entebbe State House was also attended by, Michael Nuwagira alias Toyota, Balaam Barugahara, Lillian Aber, Daudi Kabanda, Michael Mawanda and Andrew Mwenda and Micheal Katungi. This was the first time Museveni had a meeting with so called MK Movement.
The team also dubbed the MK Movement sat for hours explaining to President Museveni their work and different programs. In the meeting, General Kairugaba told his father that the MK movement’s main aim was to organise young people to take over the mantle of leadership when the right time comes.
He added that, in organising these young people, the movement would emphasise 4 principles; Patriotism, PanAfricanism, Social-economic transformation, Democracy and strategic security.
President Museveni replied and said that the MK movement was a positive development and that it was welcome. ‘I am happy with the movement and the enthusiasm it has generated in politics of the country,’ Museveni said.
He added that the movement and its activities will save young people from being used by opposition that is reactionary. He said that it is very good to allow young people to rise and even be radical.
Citing Nyerere’s example, Museveni told the group how former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere rejected complaints from some members of the Tanganyika African National Union (TANU) who disagreed with some radical youth that were forming inside the political party founded by Nyerere. ‘’It is better to have radicals on my left whom I have to restrain, than to have conservatives on my right whom I have to push,’ Museveni quoted Julius Nyerere.
Museveni, however, cautioned the group (MK movement) to be clear about its aims. ‘’Politics is like medicine, before you treat a patient, you must properly diagnose him/her. Good diagnosis leads to proper prescription,’ Museveni told the group.
Referring to his early days, Museveni said that in 1986, along with colleagues, they diagnosed that Uganda’s problem was politics of sectarianism and identity.
‘’For example why chase away Indians because of their identity, yet you have political power to organise them and they help you build the economy?’ Museveni said as he referred to former President Idi Amin’s move to chase Indians out of Uganda.
Muhoozi diagnosis of Uganda’s problem : General Kainerugaba told the father that after diagnosis, the group had discovered there’s wide spread concern that government is tired.
‘There’s a systematic problem in the way government works; it is old, tired and complacent and the problem is largely longevity,’ Muhoozi said.
He added that his movement would help government improve on performance by pushing for a performance based management system of doing work. Muhoozi argued that public officials must be given Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with a quarterly and annual performance assessment based on a neutral and universal criteria.
As much as Museveni seemed to like the idea, he warned that if this system was to be introduced, it needs to be fair, impartial and judicious, so that public officials are not fired based on rumours.
On potholes in Kampala: Lillian Aber who was in attendance too, brought it to the President’s attention that there was wide spread concern over the collapse of infrastructure in Kampala and this had sparked anger on social media.
Andrew Mwenda referring to the Uganda potholes exhibition that has been trending on twitter asked President Museveni if he had been briefed on how Ugandans had started a campaign on online posting about potholes in Uganda. ‘This is an emergency situation that requires an emergency measure,’ Mwenda added.
Museveni intimated to the meeting that he had been with World Bank officials in a meeting where they promised to lend government $500 million to work on the collapsed infrastructure in the greater Kampala Metropolitan area.
He, however, said this was not necessarily good for Uganda because of its rising debt, but there was just no other option other than borrowing money to work on roads in Kampala.
It is however still unclear when works on revamping infrastructure in Kampala will commence. Events promoter Balaam Barugahara told the president that communities of people in Buganda and Busoga living around water bodies are angry with government over how the UPDF fish protection unit has been treating them.
The unit was established under UPDF to enforce legal fishing practices on Ugandan water bodies but from when it was set up, there’s been concerns over its enforcement that has resulted into alleged torture, beatings and sometimes killings of fishermen.
Museveni agreed with Balaam that the unit has since become high handed and needed to engage with its leadership.
Balaam asked the president if he could go ahead and organise a meeting between the president and people from these communities at Kololo ceremonial grounds. The President gave Balaam a green light.
Micheal Katungi asked the President to pay attention to the welfare of lecturers at Makerere University who have raised complaints about delayed salary increments.
Museveni replied and said he had been briefed on the matter but government doesn’t have money and most importantly it needs to get out of the trick debt situation first.
Currently, Uganda’s budget for the Financial Year 2023/24 stands at 50 trillion shillings but money for debt repayment over is 17 trillion shillings, leaving Uganda with about 33 trillion shillings available for spending.
The President told the meeting that government is unable to borrow even if it was emergency and the only money it has accepted to borrow is $500 million from World Bank for fixing infrastructure in Greater Kampala area.
Muhoozi 2026 Presidency: What is interesting about the meeting is that General Muhoozi’s bid fro Presidency was not discussed even though he has been tweeting about it.
On April 1, 2023, Muhoozi tweeted and said ‘’In 2026, I will be 52 years old. I accept all the challenges from the elders. We shall stand in the elections and win.’’ Muhoozi has also been moving around the country being endorsed as a possible candidate for presidency in 2026 general elections.
The meeting was also shy from discussing Muhoozi’s retirement from the army. Political observers have previously said that if Muhoozi is interested in standing for Presidency,
he should first be retired from the army because his rallies and endorsements of his candidature for Presidency contradicts the UPDF act which barres UPDF officers in active service from participating in politics of the country.