For the last couple of years now, speculations on First son Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba succeeding President Yoweri Museveni when he finally retires has been ripe among Ugandans from both the opposition and the ruling side.
These have been hyped up by the redeployment of Muhoozi to command the UPDF’s elite unit the Special Forces Command (SFC) coupled with his sporadic tweets pinching the National Unity Platform presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu on a wide range of political issues.
These have variously exposed him to direct comparison with the man many predict would be his direct political rival for decades to come – Bobi Wine.
Whatever the case, Muhoozi’s direct involvement into the political affairs of the country has remained hugely suspicious in such a way that those with eyes able to read through the lines could have predicted there was something that was being hidden in the message. And now it has come out; It’s former Premier John Patrick Amama Mbabazi.
The meeting with Kampala NRM division councillors early this week became the first public event directly facilitated by the veteran politician since his disastrous shot at the presidency nearly five years ago.
Towards the end of 2018, images of the former Premier and Museveni at the president’s upcountry farm in Kisozi hit the internet with all it’s deserving shock. Receiving a brown envelope from the three and a half decade long serving Head of State, the smiles on the faces of the two would point to something obviously bigger for the future.
A series of suggestive public appearances have followed, thus raising the adrenaline of many Ugandans. In January last year, there were two mega events attended by Mbabazi that heightened the speculations on his eminent return to the government he had tried to unseat a few years ago.
Mbabazi had been one of the special non delegate invitees at last year’s NRM party delegates and National Executive Committee conferences at Namboole and Entebbe respectively. As a matter of fact, these became the most glaring pointers to the unbelievable fact that Museveni had made peace with his long time friend cum foe.
The January 28 Tarahe sita army celebrations in Nakaseke district is all that clearly depicted that the veteran politician must indeed have something big in store being prepared for him.
Arriving quite later after many members of the military high command and Ministers, a standing ovation and salutes from men as powerful as Museveni’s brother Gen Caleb Akwandwanaho aka Salim Saleh left no option for other military and political leaders but to follow suit.
Tapping Salim Saleh’s shoulder the way a master does to a loyal servant, one would not have required a more convincing gesture that the former presidential candidate was a huge presidential prospect or something even bigger.
But even before last week’s meeting with the Kampala Division Councillors, Museveni had heralded Mbabazi’s eminent return from his campaign trail in Kamuli when he announced they had resolved all their differences the same way he had made peace with speaker Rebecca Kadaga.
It’s with utmost certainty that only one with half a brain can guess the magnitude of the offer Museveni could have dangled before Mbabazi to inform his decision to return into active politics and that’s the Presidency.
To many, a time when General Muhoozi Kainerugaba who has highly been predicted as most likely Museveni successor has had his capabilities downplayed on the account of lacking experience, the coming into the picture of Mbabazi ticks all the boxes.
Having been one of the original architects of the rebellion that brought the regime into power, and going to serve in almost all the most powerful cabinet positions in government including Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Internal Affairs, Foreign Affairs,Defence, Security, Finance, Attorney General, Prime Minister and ruling party’s secretary General, there remains clearly no position Mbabazi has not held save for the Presidency.
With the talk of the Muhoozi project no longer a subject of mere speculation, a man of Mbabazi’s political and administrative stature would help equip the politically still wanting First Son with the experience and mentorship for at least one term before getting him into the pitch directly.
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