COMMENT | Samson Tinka | At 11am on January 22 2022, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba boarded Uganda Airlines aircraft Kob en-route to Rwanda’s capital Kigali on a mission handed to him by his father Gen Yoweri Museveni.
One hour later, the General was received by the Spy chief of Rwanda defense forces and other military officers. At this point, many people in Uganda and Rwanda had their hands on their cheeks, wondering what would come out of this assignment.
By close of business of January 22, white smoke emerged as social media was flooded with pictures of the two principles. From photographic interpretation, it was evident that discussions were cordial, brotherly and diplomatic.
From that day onwards, positive developments have been recorded and notable one being the border opening. For more than 2 years, Uganda’s border was closed by Rwanda government for the many reasons advanced. There had been moderation by different personalities including the Angola and DRC presidents but there was no breakthrough.
Finally, with Gen Kainerugaba’s involvement, the border gates swung open. This, in my view, is a breakthrough of the decade.
This, in my view, may also be a launch pad of Gen MK political journey if he harbors any political ambitions.
✳ Why do I place a bet on Gen MK?
A complete military officer by training and practice
Gen MK, as he is commonly known and addressed, has almost completed every formal military training on earth. He began his military career as an LDU- for those who remember around 1997. Before long after that, he was sent to Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (Officer Cadet Course). He also attended both company and battalion commanders course in Egypt, he did armored warfare course in Kabamba, senior military warfare course in USA and finally an executive National security course in south Africa.
These trainings place him among the best trained military officers in Uganda and Africa as a whole. Outside training, the CIC has over time deployed and exposed him to different war scenarios and experiences. From Garamba, to Mogadishu, to DRC, to SFC and currently to land forces. This is a plus on his military career since he has experience in field war fare, fighting in buildup areas, fighting terrorism, exposure to specialized army operations-SFC and now commanding land forces. These deployments aggregately make him 360% an army officer.
The age factor
Gen Kainerugaba is at his prime age. His 47 years is a good age if he has political ambitions. He not very young neither very old. Anyone who is politically strategic, initiates and fights for his political direction at around this age especially in Africa. Up to 52% of Uganda’s population is aged between 14-52years. These can easily identify themselves with Gen Muhoozi if he choses to stand for any political officer including the number 1 office in the country.
Secondly at 47 years, he is energetic and can take on many tasks at the same time. He can go for both military and political offices simultaneously. Of course the constitution doesn’t allow a serving military officer to be a politician. But he can clandestinely carry out both functions and by the time he firms up political ambitions, he can drop the military line well knowing that he has covered enough ground.
The father factor
Anyone who knows President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni knows ‘the beast’ am talking about. If he choses that Kainerugaba takes a political line, then it will be largely possible.
Rtd Col Besigye, one time mentioned three great strengths in Gen Museveni and one of them was he is a good strategist. And this is very evident. By current looks of things, its clear that ‘Mzee’ is preparing his son for bigger things. Introducing Gen Kainerugaba to diplomatic missions, is the last leg in preparing him for big office in Uganda.
Secondly Museveni is a good mobilizer and politics is mobilization. In Museveni, Gen Kainerugaba has a free campaigning manager should he opt to dive into politics. And certainly any opponent will freeze on realization that the father is supporting the son.
Regional leaders support
For both politics and economics, any in coming leader in Uganda, would need regional support. In less than 90 days, Gen Kainerugaba has been in Mogadishu where he met the president, on his way back, he stopped in Kenya and met with President Uhuru Kenyatta. Not long ago he was in Kigali with president Kagame whom he calls Uncle. Gen Kandiho was deployed to South Sudan maybe to onboard support for the General and certainly Tanzania, where he was born, will possibly support his run for presidency. On regional support, he is doing very well.
In the current army structure, most command offices are occupied by largely younger officers of almost similar age bracket with Gen Kainerugaba, or officers he has trained with, commanded with or associated with at brotherly level. Current CDF stayed with him for many years at statehouse when he was Mzees ADC, Gen Leopold Kyanda was the SFC commander when Gen Kainerugaba returned from Sandhurst. Most division, brigade, battalion and other specialized units’ commanders are either of near age to the General or his close colleagues. This would be a plus should Gen Kainerugaba think of challenging for the Number one office at Entebbe.
Sports lovers support.
Overtime Gen Kainerugaba has identified himself with sports lovers in the country. He has personally supported them financially, physically and even lobbied for them for more support from higher offices. Most Ugandans especially the youth love sports. They would support his political ambitions hoping a return good gesture in funding sports.
Gen Kainerugaba is handsome and that’s a fact. Young ladies and women may not like him only because of his education, military and other capabilities but also physical looks. Don’t under estimate this factor. By the way, if there is gender that has supported Museveni, it’s the female gender including my mother. If you want to get problems with her dare say any bad thing about Museveni.
The family ties
Gen Kainerugaba seem to be a darling of the family. He married from the famous Kutesa family; he was the best man of Alexander Akandwanaho-Gen Salim Saleh’s son. If you have Kutesa and Saleh’s backing, then that’s a solid wall to lean on. Remember, Janet Museveni the mother is a prayer worrier and also a fighter. She will support his agenda and she has less failures registered on her name.
The media has not been hash on him. He has people like Andrew Mwenda who still influence the media both electronic, social and print. This is another plus in the quest for Uganda’s political office.
Generally, Gen Kainerugaba is a good bet for me and I think for you too. The dice is in his favor. The odds point out to him.If Gen Museveni opts out of political office in 2026, Gen Kainerugaba can fill up the shoes.
If ‘Mzee’ extends his political clear to 5 more years after 2026, still Gen Mk will be a better bet.
The latest introduction of Kainerugaba to diplomacy should be the last assignment to him in the process of preparing him for political office. If he continues to score the way he did with the Rwanda assignment, Uganda’s electoral commission should prepare his passport size photograph as he is likely to be on the ballot paper sooner than later.
Samson Tinka is a safety and security consultant | Director Matts Secure Solutions Ltd | tindsam@yahoo