With his military background assured, it is only the democratic political plan missing for him to climb to the top
Since the meteoric rise to the military rank of Brigadier General in Uganda’s National Army, the son of President Yoweri Museveni, Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, is now the topic of the day everywhere in the country.
People are speculating that Museveni is now fronting his son to succeed him as President of Uganda either in 2016 or 2021. This kind of speculation in Buganda we call it –“okusomera ebaluwa mu baasa” literally translated – “reading a letter which is still sealed in an envelope”.
Muhoozi’s role in the army first hit headlines 15 years ago. In 1997, he had completed his BA degree in Politics from Nottingham University, UK and in 1998 was alleged to be recruiting young men into the army. His father denied Muhoozi was in the army and insisted he was in a Local Defense Unit. Officially, Muhoozi joined the army in 1999 as an officer cadet.
The same year, he attended the commissioning course at the prestigious Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom where he graduated in 2000 and was promoted to second lieutenant. In 2003, he became a major heading the Motorised Infantry Battalion of the Presidential Guard Brigade, the elite force entitled to offer protection to VIPs including his father.
In 2008, he became a Lieutenant Colonel commanding the Special Forces Guard after graduating from the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth.
The recent elevation of 39-year old Muhoozi’s elevation to brigadier passed almost unnoticed. Apart from becoming a brigadier, Muhoozi who has just finished his National Defence College Course was also named the commander of a newly created Special Forces Command (see The Independent February 16-21). All this has added to speculation the President Museveni is grooming Muhoozi for bigger assignments.
If President Museveni has plans and intentions to groom his son so that, if all goes well, he succeeds him as President, that’s quite alright as long as the process is in line with the democratic principles which are always followed in civil politics.
Sons succeeded fathers has happened in America where President Bush Senior prepared his son George Bush. It has happened in Kenya where both Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga were groomed by their parents and have competed for the Presidency of Kenya.
The Uganda Constitution of 1995 clearly stipulates that a president of Uganda must be a person elected by the citizens in a popular vote under universal adult suffrage. Based on that, the best plan for Brig. Muhoozi to succeed his father peacefully would involve the following:-
First, the ruling party, the National Resistance Movement should pass a resolution early in 2014 requesting Parliament to amend the Constitution and restore the two-term Presidential limits which were abolished in 2005. The important point here is that the restoration of term limits will instill confidence in the citizens that Brig. Muhoozi, if successfully elected, will be president for a maximum of ten years and another Ugandan takes over.
Second, the Government and the ruling party should recommend to Parliament to amend the Constitution and make it mandatory for all Presidential candidates to be elected Members of Parliament besides vying for the Presidency. This is important because if a candidate is not elected President, he will be a Member of Parliament and he will be able to advocate the policies of his party in Parliament.
If we had this kind of policy in our Constitution all the seven candidates who contested in the 2011 general elections, including FDC leader Retired Col. Dr Kizza Besigye, would be in parliament and the political situation would be different from what we have now.
Third, in the first two months of 2014 two things should happen simultaneously: Brig. Muhoozi should resign from the army in preparation to contest for a Parliamentary seat. This is a process which takes only one day. One Member of Parliament should be persuaded to resign from Parliament and cause a by-election. Then Brigadier Muhoozi will contest in the by-election that will follow. What is important here is that when Brig. Muhoozi becomes a Member of Parliament, like his mother and First Lady Janet Museveni has done, he will have the opportunity to undergo what I would call “political education in Parliament” for two years before the 2016 general elections.
He will face the fiery opposition MPs and he will be talking politics and debating and sharing ideas with them. The people of Uganda will know clearly who Brig. Muhoozi is, how he debates in Parliament, what motions he has introduced and supported in Parliament, and how he behaves in Parliament and in public outside Parliament. The public will be very anxious to know what kind of development projects Brig. Muhoozi initiates to uplift the living standards of the people in his constituency and elsewhere in Uganda.
If Brig. Muhoozi becomes an MP he should tour the whole country and use his position as the son of the President, and being very close to him, to rectify the situation and make the people happy throughout the country. That way he will be able to build a solid political base.
Brig.Muhoozi has acquired all the military background and knowledge which his father wanted him to have but there is something which is equally important which he must strive to achieve and that is the people’s support because it is the people who will vote for him not the army.
It is only the democratic political plan which I have outlined here which Brig. Muhoozi should follow to rise to the top in politics. Any other means which is not democratic will be disastrous.
Finally, I would like to urge other Ugandans especially those in political life, to prepare their sons and daughters for the future leadership of this country and Africa.
It is shameful that in “the politics of Uganda today”, we do not see the sons or grandsons or daughters of the former famous leaders in Buganda, Busoga, Bunyoro, Toro, Ankole, Bukedi, Bugishu, Teso, Acholi and West Nile.
We have to develop a social and modern policy whereby all the princes and princesses of the Kabaka of Buganda, Bunyoro, Toro, Ankole, Busoga and other areas must be educated to University level so that in future they can compete to be Members of Parliament or take part in other areas of economic and social development.
Remember, we are now living in a modern world whereby the social life of the 1920s is not of any use to society anymore.
Kavuma-Kaggwa is an elder from Kyaggwe, Mukono District