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Uganda’s President Elevates Son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, To Military Chief

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, 79, has appointed his son, Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to lead the military.

The 49-year-old’s elevation comes amidst a significant cabinet reshuffle that saw the dismissal of five ministers.

In office since 1986, Mr. Museveni has refuted claims that he is grooming his sole son as his successor.

Gen. Kainerugaba has courted controversy, increasingly stepping into the political arena and contravening military protocols. In 2022, he was relieved of his position as commander of the army’s land forces by his father after issuing threats on Twitter, now identified as X, to invade neighboring Kenya.

President Museveni extended an apology to Kenya’s leader and sought forgiveness from Kenyans on behalf of his son.

However, Gen. Kainerugaba’s contentious tweet remains undeleted; instead, he was promoted to the rank of general and retained as his father’s advisor.

He further stirred controversy with a subsequent post expressing his intention to dispatch troops to Moscow to aid President Vladimir Putin in defending Russia against Ukraine.

He now assumes the role of head of the country’s defense forces, succeeding Gen. Wilson Mbadi, who transitions to lead the trade ministry.

Two of Gen. Kainerugaba’s closest confidants have also been appointed as ministers in the cabinet reshuffle.

The promotion of Gen. Kainerugaba has sparked apprehension.

Opposition lawmaker Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda criticized President Museveni’s actions, characterizing Uganda as “a personal enterprise of his family.”

He denounced the appointment, urging Ugandans to resist the “family dynasty.”

Following the 2021 elections, the opposition accused President Museveni, his son, and other officials of engaging in torture and abductions.

The president’s spokesperson refuted these allegations, asserting that his political adversaries were disseminating misinformation.

Gen. Kainerugaba had previously announced his intention to contest the 2026 presidential election in a now-deleted X post.

He has recently been conducting rallies, rallying support across the nation—a move that has drawn criticism from some quarters.

Having joined the army in 1999, Gen. Kainerugaba has experienced a rapid ascent. His rise to prominence has been labeled the “Muhoozi Project” by local media.

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