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Gen. Muhoozi is back

Bad news for Bobi Wine supporters

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | What should be the main takeaway from President Yoweri Museveni’s Dec.16 re-appointment of his son, Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to head the Special Forces Command and Maj. Gen. Paul Lokech to be the deputy inspector general of police (DIGP)?

The appointments are being linked to the January 14, 2021 general elections. The move is the second major action Museveni has been forced to make in order to regain control of what is being billed as the most violent election in Uganda’s history.

The first move Museveni was forced to make was in July when he fired eight senior Electoral Commission (EC) officials, including his long-term ally Sam Rwakoojo, who was the Secretary to the Electoral Commission and its powerful accounting officer.

Both are linked to Museveni’s attempt to take the surge of presidential candidate Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine of the National Unity Platform (NUP) who also heads the People Power political agitators.

Many analysts The Independent has spoken to say both moves have placed the January 14, 2021 general election in shaky hands. It means one of the most contested elections in Uganda’s history is now being run by an under-staffed EC, reportedly with only 40% manpower, headed by a judge, Simon Byabakama, who has never handled a major election.

Meanwhile, following the appointment of Gen. Muhoozi and Gen. Lokech, the security of the election is in the hands of two soldiers without deep knowledge of election policing.

According to some commentators, Muhoozi and Lokech, as senior security officials, could be familiar with the security demands around elections but they lack critical hands-on dealings with the field teams of regional and district police commanders, Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), and other security agents involved in civil security.

The situation is critical because Museveni was in the process of re-organising the Internal security Organisation (ISO) which handles such matters after firing its head, Col. Kaka Bagyenda in October. That means intelligence is also either weak or in disarray.

Security experts say Bobi Wine has managed to outpace Museveni partly because of the President getting little or bad intelligence. Bobi Wine registered his party in July, and Kaka was fired two months later.

Bobi Wine’s manouvre was so stealth that by the time Museveni got wind of it, the matter was irreversible.  The President attempts to block it merely bought him more bad publicity. The EC bosses were fired at about the same time.

Museveni’s appointment of Muhoozi and Lokech was possibly driven by his desire for a firmer grip on opposition election activity, especially getting a grip on Bobi Wine’s main assets which are tech-savviness, ability to play the victim card, and a connection with the powerful international constituency in a manner that President Museveni’s team is not used to or able to control.

When Museveni enforced his usual tactics of blocking opponents from using mainstream media to campaign, the Bobi Wine campaign lit up social media and YouTube with 24/7 coverage of his activities. Bobi Wine has also become a regular guest on international news channels like CNN, Aljazeera, and BBC.

Eyes on Muhoozi, Lokech

The appointment of Muhoozi and Lokech therefore comes at a critical time, when Uganda’s human rights record and especially the operation of security agencies like the police are under increased scrutiny.

Powerful international actors such U.S., UK, EU, and others have already issued warning regarding abuses. The United States has already condemned the election violence.

The U.S, in a statement on Nov.19 demanded “a full and independent investigation” into the events of 18th and 19th of November, “to ensure justice for victims and to avoid impunity for the perpetrators who must be held accountable for their actions”.

“We urge all parties to renounce violence, undertake good-faith measures to reduce tensions, and respect fundamental freedoms,” said new American ambassador to Uganda, Natalie Brown. Even human rights organisations like Amnesty International are keenly watching.

If Muhoozi and Lokech plan to use a heavier hammer on the opposition than the former DIGP Stephen Sabiiti Muzeyi and former SFC head Maj. Gen. James Birungi, they must be aware of the risk of becoming international pariahs.

The SFC was in charge when Bobi Wine was pulled out of hotel in Arua in August 2018, was badly tortured, and his driver shot dead.

Previously, when Muhoozi headed SFC, his deputy was Brig. Steven Sabiiti Muzeyi, the out-going DIGP. At the time, Sabiiti was blocked by America from attending training at its National Defence College, Fort Leavenworth. The U.S Embassy in Kampala simply denied him a visa over SFC’s alleged involvement in suppression of the human rights activists and opposition leaders. In 2012 Museveni appointed Don Nabaasa, another Muhoozi recruit, to head SFC but he is now also a possible candidate for the American sanctioned list.

By appointing Muhoozi, President Muhoozi placed him in a similar precarious position. If America were to place sanctions on Muhoozi, it would have serious implications on Uganda-American relations. Uganda would not want that. But American too would not want that because of business interests and Museveni’s peace-keeping role in the Great Lakes Region and horn of Africa on its behalf.  American sanctions on individuals operate by blocking American citizens and businesses from dealing with the sanctioned persons. That means American interests suffer if an individual close to the First Family is sanctioned.


  1. “Bobi Wine has also become a regular guest on international news channels like CNN, Aljazeera, and BBC.”
    The use of international news channels will not help Bobi Wine win power at home. Even his thick Luganda accent is being mocked and ridiculed. It is shameful and despicable to hear Bobi Wine’s accent. It’s better for him to speak in his mother tongue and get a translator. In fact, he’s shaming Uganda. Even Amin’s accent was better than Bobi Wine’s. He should first polish his English before appearing on those channels.

    • Miseducation of the nigros. The French, Chinese, Fins, Germans, etc.. speak English in their accents, are they mocked and ridiculed, do they even care ? A miseducated African thinks a British accent and good english is a proof for being intelligent, what a shame!

      • Spot on Charles, Victor and his ilk are a group with this inferior complex that speaking good English is all that matters, in fact this group has taken their complex to a whole new level by not allowing their children to speak their mother tongue, what a shame,

      • Even British accent is mocked in USA and Canada. The Australian accent is also mocked. The first thing Bobi Wine should have done was to earn a university degree so that he could have been taken seriously; then mostly lose that village accent. It is despicable for a graduate of MUSIRU DALA DALA (MDD) and a devil worshipper, Bobi Wine, to imagine that he can rule over a country like Uganda. From that day a lot of Ugandans would end their allegiance to their country and prefer to be called citizens of another country. It is unthinkable to have such a deluded dude as president.

    • i think u are either mad or stupid,how can you compare Amins accent to Bobi wines accent i can see you have a problem with your head

      • Shut up! Since you are a supporter of Bobi Wine you are no doubt too young and didn’t even see Amin. You are in no position to know what I am talking about.

        • Leave people alone. Opposers will never understand the Idea. But U speak True. BOBI wine is very very poor in Speach. HE WON’T HIS COUNTRY TO ANY place. Nooo He wont. It’s not in his lens.

        • Sometimes I do see idiocy in the people who undermine Bobi wine, not that somehow somewhere I may a supporter comparing him with the rest of opposition candidates he the top Challenger off the ruling part. If not why do you deploy massively police and army plus beating some voters denying them access to him.? If accent was the factor then M7 wouldn’t rule for even a year because he is the most African president with the worst English accent.

    • So, u think it is all about accent? Is the current president’s accent better than Bobi Wine’s? I believe u r aware that Jacob Zuma was RSA president notonly his poor accent, but also grammar was very bad. If you think accent is an issue, then it is up to you.
      Whoever doubts Bobiwine shud wait 14th Jan. Uganda will be surprised including you “the accent” man.

    • The problem with untravelled, unexposed people is they think you gain a better standing in the world with Western accents and such polished English…absolutely not. What matters is being understood. Besides Kyagulanyi speaks excellent English. Travel a bit and discover for yourself!!

  2. No matter as ajock bobi wine is serious needs to ahead Ugandan.

  3. Once again, political pundits are misreading Museveni’s recent reshuffles. Certainly not about the elections, not even about the polling event BUT what happens well after the election. That a transition is eminent is certain, not because of the elections but because of a Museveni orchestrated action to transition from Museveni to NRM, because hitherto all transitions have been from Museveni to Museveni. Expect some equally powerful signals in the direction of NRM Secretariat and high command. The Presiddd Ed NRS current body language does not betray any fear of the we current electioneering process. If anything it seems to be going according to plan! And of course there is the divine question of life and death COVID or no COVID. Recent deployments suggest a farsighted capability strategy in the event of a power vacuum occasioned by God. In the meantime, the political vultures are positioning themselves! Sadly, it is the nature of the political game

  4. Great article but hopefully Bobi Wine wins

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