Proponents of what has come to be known as the ‘Muhoozi Project’ in Uganda argue that the first son Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba has been fast-tracked through the army hierarchy, as a way of grooming him to control the armed forces and eventually take over as head of state.
In February this year, President Yoweri Museveni who is also the Commander in Chief of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) promoted Muhoozi to the rank of Lieutenant General, the second highest army rank an officer can obtain in the Ugandan army.
In 2013, the then coordinator of intelligence agencies in Uganda, General David Tinyenfunza alias Sejusa alleged that individuals opposed to the alleged ‘Muhoozi Project’ were being targeted for assassination.
Sejusa, in a letter that was leaked to and published by private media outlets, Daily Monitor and Red Pepper, alleged that president Yoweri Museveni and his closest family members were plotting to install Muhoozi as President.
Gen Muhoozi has on several occasions distanced himself from reports of the succession plot, saying he is too busy with military work to nurse political ambitions.
‘‘I don’t have the ambition to be President. I am very happy being in the military and that is where I intend to stay for some time,” Muhoozi said following his promotion to Major General in 2016.
‘‘It [Muhoozi Project] doesn’t exist, non-existent – that is a red herring. You have never heard of a message where I promote myself, it is always from the promotions board. That is the process in the military.”
In an interview with Al-Jazeera in 2013, President Museveni also dismissed suggestions that he was grooming his son to take over from him.
“That man (Muhoozi Kainerugaba) is an army officer. He is not interested in politics in Uganda,” Museveni told the interviewer.
Why Muhoozi cannot be President:
According to article 102 (a) of the 1995 Uganda Constitution, for any person to qualify to stand as President he/ she must be a citizen of Uganda by birth.
It states, “A person is not qualified for election as President unless that person is—(a) a citizen of Uganda by birth.
On the other hand, Gen Muhoozi was born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
First lady Janet Museveni in her book,My Life’s Journeywrites that on April 24, 1974 her labour pains started in the morning and a kind Scandinavian woman, who lived in the apartment building in Dar es Salaam, offered to drive her to the hospital. Muhoozi was born at 6am on April 24, 1974;
“He weighed nine pounds. He was a beautiful brown baby with a thick mass of hair on his head. He had dark marks that looked like sideburns on his cheeks, a trait that Museveni used to call the Museveni mark, because his children were born with it.”
Janet remembers that when Museveni walked into the room that morning and found the newly-born baby lying peacefully in his cot, “his face could not contain the smile that spread across [it].”
In his bookSowing the Mustard Seed,Museveni writes that Muhoozi was born during hard times.
“We were so short of funds that our electricity had been cut off… In fact, we were not able to have it restored until Muhoozi was three months old. You should have seen his jumps and laughs when the lights first came on!”