There was a little fidget or even a twitch as the green ribbon with gold stars was pipped onto his left arm.
He looked, slightly above his wife, Charlotte, long enough to catch her gaze but short enough to draw the seriousness his own decoration deserved.
Above his right arm, the Chief of Defence Forces, his namesake David Muhoozi scrambled off the Major General rank he’d gotten in May 2016 and with a star more than it, he robbed him the coveted Lieutenant General rank his father, the President, had promoted him to.
The army brass band, with meticulous poise, sounded the general salute, the short trumpets going first and later joined by the large drums.
In Under five minutes, the galore and fanfare and commentary that dominated the promotion of the first son to Lieutenant General was confirmed and soon after him, the rest of the ranks followed.
For Muhoozi, not even the specialised training at UK, US and South African military schools and not even his deployments as head of the Special forces command or Presidential Advisor on Special Operations could chip away at the public question of his meteoric rise in the army.
For where he’d spent two years, Ivan Koreta – also being promoted today to General – had spent three but for where Muhoozi had spent four years from Brigadier to Major General, Koreta had spent 13.
“Authority is responsibility” Koreta said, in his speech at the function. “Therefore exercise your authority responsibly”
If there were other responsibilities for Muhoozi, surely, the first of them, was to respond to the wild cheer and ululations that were elicited when his name was called upon.
Trotting down the Mbuya hill spectacle with his wife – Charlotte Kutesa, his eyes were barely visible under the cloak of the military hat he was wearing. His wife complemented the green look in a flowery green dress and big rimmed eye-shades that robbed the senior army officers of the joy in her eyes.
But it would be to miss the point, to focus on the couple for with them, 65 other officers of distinguished rank and name were being decorated too. There was, for example, Joram Mugume, the 37th recruit of the NRA forces who was getting to the coveted four-star general, there was Don Nabaasa, the commandant of the special forces and his colleague in town Sabiiti Muzeyi who, despite being a club of officers in the SFC, were now on the coveted Major General rank. Or even Felix Kulaigye, the former army spokesperson who was decorated a Brigadier general.
The king of the promotions, General Ivan Koreta, himself with his signature puffy tufts was pipped first by General Elly Tumwine and also delivered the valedictorian speech.
To cap off the ceremony, the master of ceremonies, Brigadier Igumba, then quoted straight from George Orwell’s Animal farm; “Napoleon is always right”.
The 66 promotions are the most influential high level promotions in a go in the professionalized UPDF. Perhaps to tell its magnitude, three former Chiefs of Defence Forces were in attendance.