Have the latest changes moved Gen Muhoozi closer to power?

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The latest developments in the leadership of the country have seen many opine that First Son Muhoozi Kainerugaba has moved even closer to taking power.

On Thursday night, President Museveni appointed Gen Muhoozi as the Chief of Defence Forces in the UPDF, the highest office in the hierarchy of the Ugandan army.

With the recent launch of the UPDF Establishment, a new organizational structure of the Ugandan army, Gen Muhoozi will now be in charge of the entire UPDF.

Associates eat big

In a further move to show that it is Gen Muhoozi’s time , a number of his close associates have eaten big, not only in the army but also in the cabinet changes announced on Thursday.

For example, Col Asaph Nyakyikuru has been promoted to Brigadier in the UPDF.

He is the commander of the former UPDF commando unit that has since been elevated to a brigade in the new UPDF Establishment.

The commando brigade carries out special tasks on behalf of the UPDF, including going behind the enemy lines .

It is credited with carrying out special operations in DR Congo under Operation Shuja, in South Sudan in 2013 to prevent a coup against President Salva Kiir.

One of the biggest successes of the UPDF Commando Unit was in Somalia as its snipers neutralized Al Shabaab’s snipers .

The terrorist group had used experienced foreigners , including those from as far Afghanistan as snipers who made it difficult for the Ugandan army to operate, especially in built up areas as they took out Ugandan soldiers.

However, led by Asaph Nyakikuru, who was a Major then, the commando unit in the Special Forces Command carried out surgical operations, including at night and neutralising Al Shabaab snipers , turning the tide against the terrorist group , especially in Mogadishu.

Brig Nyakyikuru is a blue-eyed boy of Gen Muhoozi right from the Special Forces Command days and his elevation in rank means more power to him.

Also promoted was the commander of the Special Forces Command, Brig DAVID Mugisha who is now a Major General in the UPDF.

He is also a close friend to Gen Muhoozi.

Others who ate big in the latest changes are events promoter Balaam Barugahara, who was appointed the new state minister in charge of children and youth affairs.

Balaam has branded himself as one of the faces of Gen Muhoozi’s Patriotic League of Uganda (PLU) where he is the National Vice Chairperson for Western region.

Lillian Aber, the Kitgum Woman MP, Lilian Aber, a senior mobiliser of Gen Muhoozi was appointed minister of State for relief, disaster preparedness and refugees.

The cabinet reshuffle by President Museveni also saw a number of ministers who have openly sworn allegiance to Gen Muhoozi retained in their cabinet positions.

Ministers including Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo (microfinance) and Frank Tumwebaze (agriculture) have been seen moving with Gen Muhoozi as he carried out his countrywide tours, the latest being last weekend’s event in Masaka.

In 2022, Gen Muhoozi tweeted that he will one day become the president of Uganda, as a gift to his mother.

“The only way I can repay my great mother is by becoming the President of Uganda! And I shall definitely do it,” he tweeted in October, 2022.

With the latest changes effected by President Museveni, both in the army and in cabinet, many have opined that Gen Muhoozi has moved closer to his dream of becoming the president of Uganda.

However, respected political analyst, Imam Idd Kasozi recently said Gen Muhoozi cant be president when President Museveni is still alive.

"I am aware that Muhoozi cannot ascend to the presidency of Uganda as long as President Museveni remains in office. Therefore, those who opportunistically rushed to support him will undoubtedly face frustration," Kasozi stated.

"President Museveni has a knack for creating scenarios that favor his triumph. Having initially entered politics through unconventional means, he continues to employ such tactics because he understands that they are instrumental in keeping many people in power. Politics revolves around interests, not any particular location.”

However, another school of thought is that by appointing Gen Muhoozi as Chief of Defence Forces, President Museveni sought to tame him and make him busy with the work of the UPDF so he couldn't have time to move for his mobilization tours around the country as part of the Patriotic League of Uganda.

To further lend credence to this line of thought, the new UPDF Establishment gave more powers to the CDF to be in charge of the entire UPDF and with the new position, Gen Muhoozi is expected to be pre-occupied with the running of the army with no time for his mobilisation tours.

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