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Uganda’s ‘first son’ pulls out of army, sparks presidency rumors

Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the son of Ugandan President Yoweri Musevenicannounced on Tuesday that he was retiring from the military, sparking speculation about a possible presidential bid in 2026.

Though Kainerugaba has repeatedly denied that he plans to succeed his 77-year-old father — one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders — observers point to his meteoric rise through Uganda’s military ranks as evidence that he was being groomed for the top job.

“After 28 years of service in my glorious army, the largest army in the world, I am delighted to announce my retirement,” the 47-year-old general said on Twitter, without giving further details about his decision.

“Me and my soldiers have achieved so much! I have only love and respect for all those wonderful men and women who are achieving greatness for Uganda every day.”

He has led Uganda’s land forces and serves as a high-profile presidential adviser on special operations — a role that extends into the political sphere.

An avid social media user, Kainerugaba regularly finds himself in the crosshairs of controversy, often tweeting about foreign policy.

Most recently, he deviated from the African Union announcing his support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine, tweeting last month: “The majority of humanity (who is non-white) supports the Russian position in Ukraine. Putin is absolutely right!”

Kainerugaba’s foreign policy interventions are not limited to social media.

He is said to have played a key role in the recent rapprochement between Uganda and neighboring Rwanda and is also alleged to have played a key role in a joint operation launched last year by Ugandan and Congolese forces against the rebel group Allied Democratic Forces in the east. from DR Congo.

The prospect of Kainerugaba’s elevation to the presidency has angered opposition politicians and critics of the government, forcing some into exile.

Prominent author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija fled to Germany last month and claimed he was being tortured in custody on charges of insulting Museveni and Kainerugaba, whom he has described as “obese”, a “curmudgeon” and a “baby despot”.

On Tuesday, Kakwenza was among those to speculate on Kainerugaba’s future plans, tweeting, “Where his father will stop, the baby despot will start from there.”

“We are doomed if we don’t thwart his burgeoning ambitions.”

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