In a way that was not necessarily sycophantic, Arinaitwe Rugyendo, the founder of Red Pepper, likened Fidel Castro to Muhoozi Kainerugaba in the midst of Muhoozi’s birthday celebrations.
Any casual assessment of the two men — Castro and Muhoozi — will lead one to a conclusion that Muhoozi doesn’t even qualify to clean Castro’s shoes. At only 27 years of age, Fidel Castro, with the help of his 82 men, launched an armed revolt against Fulgencio Batista’s military dictatorship in Cuba which lasted for about 5 years and six moths.
Castro succeeded and led Cuba from 1959 to 2008, serving as the prime minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976 and president from 1976 to 2008. Although it’s too idealistic to expect Muhoozi to revolt against his father’s misrule, we can’t still compare him to Fidel militarily. Castro was not only known for his revolution but also his oratory skills.
Can Muhoozi be compared to Castro in the same regard?
With profound disappointment, I watched two excerpts of Muhoozi’s two speeches he made on his birthday: one at Kololo and another at Lugogo. With due respect, Muhoozi’s speech at Lugogo is akin to speeches contestants for head boy or head prefects make during school campaigns.
His speech inadequacies should be a point of great concern to his handlers and advisors. Muhoozi seems incapable of crafting humourous statements such as those made by Fidel Castro: “One of the greatest benefits of the revolution is that even our prostitutes are college graduates.”
In Uganda’s circumstances, or even in other parts of the world, charisma and humour during speech delivery could be more important than substance in as far as attracting political support is concerned. If a politician in Uganda can’t afford the Bobi Wine or Besigye-type rhetoric, and specifically the Bobi Wine humor, it’s unlikely that the same politician can leave an indelible impact in a voter’s mind.
Audiences on political rallies hardly take note of the beauty of language used and substance. But they’ll always live with the humour and hand gestures made during speech delivery. How could Muhoozi, who was addressing youth on his birthday, fail to smile more often or even crack a memorable joke or humourous statement? Muhoozi should be capable of making statements that can endear him even to people with the least enthusiasm for his presidency.
It is statements such as “kati nebwentema” that endear a politician to the vast majority of youth who are concentrated in ghettos and slums, vendors, boda boda men, traders along Nabugabo, Kiseka market, Wandegeya and other Kampala streets; not the poetry of Martin Luther or the humility, timidity and non-composure Muhoozi exhibited during his “political-birthday” speeches.
Muhoozi’s speech deficiencies should be very concerning to his fans because his perceived main competitor, Bobi Wine, in this this very respect, seems to understand preferences of Ugandan audiences. It’s true that Muhoozi hasn’t publicly declared his presidential ambitions, but it’s also true that the efforts he is making to position himself as a potential successor of his father are probably louder than any presidential-ambition-proclamation he can make verbally.
And so, if numbers in the last presidential election are to go by, and if Muhoozi is planning to contest for a presidential seat in 2026 as his fans are saying, his main opponent will certainly be Bobi Wine. And now that Muhoozi seems to have chosen going public with his presidential ambitions, it’s time for people to start comparing him with Bobi Wine.
In regards to speech delivery, there’s no doubt Bobi Wine is greatly transforming. And it’s very understandable that Bobi Wine began at the level he did in speech delivery, given his social background. Bobi Wine has always known music, smoking his weed sticks, pouring beer down his throat, squeezing women during music shows and things of the like.
On another hand, Muhoozi has been in state house for the better part of his life, engaging Museveni’s intelligent advisors on almost everything, eavesdropping very intelligent debates and probably reading a few books. Muhoozi has, therefore, been receiving apprenticeship throughout his life on relevant political topics — speeches inclusive. It’s Muhoozi social background that makes it not understandable that he has begun on the level he has in regards to speech abilities.
It appears that, in regards to speeches, likening Muhoozi to Castro is an insult to the latter. Rugyendo should, therefore, be careful these days. The ghost of Fidel might wreak vengeance against him for impudence.