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Museveni succession

Why NRM doesn’t want to talk about it

Kampala, Uganda | HAGGAI MATSIKO | In 2021 when Uganda goes to the next polls, President Yoweri Museveni will be 77 years. At the next polls in 2026, he will be 82 years and possibly one of the oldest state leaders in Africa and the world.

Despite such clear indicators, the President’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party appears determined not to talk about succession or life without Museveni at the helm of the party and country.

“There are no discussions in the party on who should succeed President Yoweri Museveni,” said the NRM Secretary General Kasule Lumumba recently when cornered by journalists.

“The NRM Central Executive Committee-CEC; the top party organ has never discussed succession,” she added. The question is why?

According to politicians from opposition parties, it could be that the NRM is planning to spring a surprise constitutional amendment as early as this April.

While Museveni does not appear to have serious challengers ahead of 2021 and 2026 appears far off, insiders say he is already planning ahead.

The plan, according to those knowledgeable about the inner workings of the NRM, Museveni’s handlers intend to eliminate presidential elections and instead have the party with the majority in parliament select the president. The idea is to save an ageing Museveni from a grueling election campaign.

With a near-70 percent majority, the ruling NRM and its chairman Museveni would be the immediate beneficiaries. The ruling party would easily retain power and Museveni who by that time will be too old to campaign would just stay in office.

But when opposition politicians publicly spoke about such plans in January this year, the NRM dismissed the same as mere speculation. Of course such NRM denials do not mean it will not happen. The plot to remove the constitutional 75-year age-limit to allow President Museveni to run again started as a rumour, was dismissed by NRM, but was eventually pushed through parliament by Museveni.

It is not unusual for ageing leaders to adopt coping strategies that ensure they stay in power.

The 93-year old Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain in April 2018 allowed her son and heir apparent, Prince Charles, to take over the grueling role of leader of the Commonwealth.

Africa’s oldest leader, 87-year old President Paul Biya of Cameroon has been dubbed an “absentee president” because he rules through the prime minister and spends most of his time in Geneva, Switzerland.

The oldest person to ever head an African state, the late President Hastings Kamuzu Banda, before he was removed in 1994 at the age of 97 had left the country in the hands of his companion Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira.

Museveni is comparatively young. But the cross country electoral campaign, which is already underway – two years before the election in 2021 – can be draining.

As a result, even though President Museveni still appears stronger than his challengers, observers say that more than ever a conversation about his successor –meaning someone clearly designated from within his circle succeeding him or a transition – meaning a switch to any leader other than him – is unavoidable and must be planned for.

In 2017, Workers MP Sam Lyomoki even came up with “The Museveni Succession, Transition and Immunities Bill, 2017” saying he wanted to ensure smooth transition of power.

This planning is critical because Uganda does not appear to even have a proper succession plan in case of an emergency. The constitutional provisions have never been tested and the only precedents are too diabolical to think about – another military takeover.

Between Muhoozi and Salim Saleh

 In the past, whenever talk of succession or transition has arisen, political punditry has focused on four areas; members of Museveni’s family, top members of the NRM party, top generals in the army, and finally an opposition politician.

Currently, however, talk of succession or transition is easily dismissed because Museveni either appears too strong or the would-be successors appear too weak.

Within President Museveni’s family, possible successors have been seen as his wife, Janet Museveni, son Lt.Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, and brother Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho aka Salim Saleh.

By 2026, however, Janet and Saleh will be 77 and 66 years respectively. While they are all popular amongst supporters of the ruling party; a combination of the Museveni brand fatigue (he will have spent over 40 years in power) and their age could make either Janet Museveni or Salim Saleh hard to sell as successors.

Gen. Kainerugaba, who will be 51-years old, is a different proposition. He could also face the challenge of the Museveni fatigue but he would offer youthful hope. He could also have the backing of the army.


  1. Ugandans are very,very,very ready to put His Excellency President Bobi Wine into power constiuationally although the barkings of those dogs sound higher.85% of BOBI’s votes will come from youths,10% from adults while 5% from oppositions themselves.The ruling party(NRM) members have long waited for both change and succession all invain.Therefore,the raising of president BOBI Made all the ugandans to celebrate!

  2. We can talk of all but let’s not forget God’s age limits to all humans. We can plan but it’s only God who makes our plans successful. Let’s give God time to decide on who next after Museveni.

  3. Nalwadda Angela

    I don’t see anyone capable of moving Uganda further among those aspiring for presidency other than President Museveni. Being angry at the one in power because of what you see is different from being bke to change what you see.Let the aspirants bring on table what they want to be changed and HOW. Uganda was led by many people in the past who just wanted to be on power than improve the nation. We have moved from endless wars to peace and that’s key because all progress starts from having an environment that favours it,our economy is improving day by day and of course there are some things we are discontented about but is the one you want to put in power able to satisfy them? How much have they changed their own area? What do they hope to put in place? I want change but that which is realistic ie improve us. Its all about Uganda.

    • So who should be Uganda’s leader after Museveni if you don’t see any other capable person. So will Uganda stop to exist if Museveni dies. Or rather will he not die. stop being a bigot.

    • Your hero is not growing any younger and he has stubbornly refused to give space to anyone even within his stable to take over from him. He reminds me of Adolf Hitler who almost took Germany with him to hell. #People_Power_Our_Power👊💪🏽 #Tuliyambala_Engule 👑

  4. Museveni has been a good leader for all his time in the office even up to now he is so good than all the Ugandan leaders before him. But now there is problem with his foreign policies of confusing the neighbouring countries so any changes in the neighboring countries would means a lot in the politic of Uganda. And the most vital part of his successor would be justified by nature. No worry, as I talk now nobody knows the actual age of his excellency president Museveni hence wait for God’s blessing anytime from now 2019 on ward

  5. Over Museven’s dead body! If he would fail Dr besigye who for one time contributed to his good health what of that Muyaye( bobi) Besigye was more powerful and still he his than bobi but has failed up today.Stop day dreaming.I feel paralised when i see people like you who wish that Muyaye would rule Uganda .That country is big.Its not kyandodo.

  6. Leaders come from let’s not talk I’ll about any leader.let’s wait for 2021 and cast votes respectively. Choices differ but the final judge is God.

  7. Fake article. You are just praising Museveni. Its like he is the only one able.

  8. Seasons come and go, whoever says doesnt see M7’s Successor is probably sick in mind. He is growing old everday and will finally pass on soon. So what next happens to UG.? THINK

  9. M7 has been a great leader but his position in history may be determined by how he leaves power. The best he can do now is to train and groom his successor. We’ll offer him/her our support.

  10. we can talk and talk but it’s time for change please! We need new ideas

  11. Your out off your senses honestly speaking

  12. Muhoozi can take over,he has all what it takes

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