Over the past couple of months, the commander of Land Forces and First son, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba has been “allover the place” as we say in Ugandan English.
He has been to Somalia to ostensibly boost the morale of Uganda’s troops battling the Al-Shabaab.
Like his father, the commander in chief, Muhoozi implored the troops to remain disciplined.
He took off time to visit the Somali president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo” and discussed matters of mutual interests according to the release.
Later he set off for Kenya and interacted with his “hero” President Uhuru Kenyatta.
From the photos, the two shared many bottles of…mineral water and were in good spirits. On twitter, he has gone into overdrive, offering his take on issues local, regional and international.
Along the way he has used some tough words to ward off those whose views he considers unpalatable.
So what could the First Son be up to? Why is someone, who has previously shirked publicity, now trying so hard to share in the public limelight?
Ground for presidential bid?
For more than two decades, since Muhoozi joined the army, there has been talk that Museveni is preparing him to take over as president of Uganda someday.
Those with long memories will remember that it started as rumour in the corridors of Parliament, fanned by some MPs.
The then minister of state for Defence, Amama Mbabazi, was forced to pour ice cold water on it, suggesting before the parliamentary committee on Defence that the First Son had joined the army as an LDU.
Yet the suspicion gained currency during President Museveni’s swearing in ceremony in 2001 in Kololo when the Libyan leader promoted publicly Muhoozi to the rank of Major.
His meteoric rise in the army and his selection to attend specialised military courses abroad raised eyebrows further.
During a burial ceremony in Rukungiri shortly after he had been released from long military detention, Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde said that many soldiers that he had left as “sergeants had suddenly become generals.”
While we can’t tell for certain whether Tumukunde was referring to Muhoozi, what we are certain about is that senior army officers and public officials have found themselves in trouble for questioning the so called Muhoozi project, publicly or even privately.
Gen David Sejusa, Capt Mike Mukula, Amama Mbabazi and the late Gen Aronda Nyakayirima…the list is long.
Nothing in there
In an interview with the UBC five years ago, Muhoozi said he was not aware of any plot to install him as successor to his father.
More recently, President Museveni told that France 24 in an interview that he is not grooming his son for the presidency. Yet recent political history seems to suggest that Museveni has flip flopped on a number of issues.
Only in 2014, Museveni said he would not support attempts to amend the Constitution to remove the age-limit cap for the presidency.
In 2017, after a violent process, Parliament removed the age limit cap. Some analysts have argued that the removal of age-limit was clear sign that Museveni felt his son was not ready to succeed him.
Others say the move was aimed at buying time to allow his son build a base within the army and on the political scene.
And recent changes in the army that saw Muhoozi placed as commander of Land Forces is a step in this direction as it will help ingratiate him with the foot soldiers.
As head of the elite Special Forces Command for some time, Muhoozi was seen by some as being too “detached” from ordinary soldiers.
Yet it is Muhoozi’s increasing usage of his social media platforms, especially twitter, that has set tongues wagging.
One day he is writing about the coup in Guinea, another day he is expressing solidarity with the leaders of Egypt. In commenting about African affairs, some analysts say he is trying to acquire the “Pan African” credentials to boost his regional profile that could stand him in good stead.
Secondly over the past couple of years Muhoozi has built a loyal army of young twitter followers, who worship at his feet but also viciously attack those who criticise the general.
If Muhoozi were to stand for president, some say the earliest opportunity could be 2031 if other factors remain constant.
So far, there is no indication that Museveni will relinquish power in 2026.
With the oil still in the ground and numerous projects like the SGR yet to commence, some analysts predict that Museveni will at least hang on if only to see some of these projects come to fruition.
However, in 2031, the age factor will have kicked in.
Museveni will be 87 years of age and some predict that his energy and gusto will have waned.
This will provide an opening for Muhoozi who will be 57 years old in 2031, assuming he is interested in the presidency.