Don’t take Tweeting General lightly
Four-Star General Muhoozi Kainerugaba: this is the name of a man who should not be ignored; it would be imprudent to do so.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has been in power for the last 36 years, and if he decides to run for the presidency again in 2026 he may very well make it, but by then he will be 81 years old, and since longevity in power does not mean immortality, he, too, will eventually call it a day.
If you think about it, who else is better placed to replace him in that position but his son, the Tweeting General himself, a man who has never hidden his ambitions in that regard?
In fact, it appears as if the only person stopping Gen Kainerugaba from declaring himself president is his father who has side-stepped requests to declare whether he is running again in the next three years.
Now, it appears that the young stallion is chafing at the bit, judging from the content of his tweets since last year when he gained notoriety by threatening to invade Kenya, capture Nairobi in less than two weeks, and settle in one of the city’s most lush estates, the only question being whether it will be Riverside or Westlands.
“I will be president of this country after my father”, he tweeted a week ago, “those fighting the project are lost. MK Movement will win!!!” These are not the words of a man who doesn’t know what he is saying.
The good General is not in any sense a buffoon. He is a highly educated military officer who has risen through the ranks to become the head of Uganda’s Land Army until last year when he was relieved of that duty and then promoted to the highest ranks in the country’s military.
One may very argue that these are Uganda’s domestic politics which Kenyans can safely ignore. After all, our influence on the country’s presidential succession will be minimal.
The only thing that should concern us is whether Gen Kainerugaba’s tweet storms have the tacit support of his father or whether he has designs on Kenya’s territorial integrity if he does, indeed, end up succeeding his father.
This notion is not as far-fetched as one would like to believe. After all, back in October last year, he had this to say on his vision for the region: “To all my compatriots, fellow countrymen and women, Uganda and Kenya: I say we must conquer our fears. These colonial borders must fall.”
This, surely, cannot be just the hubristic ranting of a spoilt brat intent on seeking relevance; it may well be a statement of intent by a man with hegemonic propensities. After all, when did Kenyans become Ugandan “compatriots” unless the word has changed meaning?
And what would he be referring to when he says that “colonial boundaries must fall”? Even the most ardent of pan-Africanists long ago stopped saying such things, especially since the last of that breed died with the demise of Libya’s Col Muammar Gaddafi.
It would be a mistake to confuse him with his real compatriot, Idi Amin Dadda; they have very little in common, except their military leadership experience. What baffles many is that Gen Kainerugaba seems to have mesmerised the country’s youthful generation so much that a movement to induct him to the presidency has been formed, and is already attracting youths in their thousands.
The stalwarts of the struggle in the National Resistance Movement cannot be sleeping easy when they realise power may slip from their grasp. After all, they will not be dealing with the likes of Kizza Besigye or Bobi Wine; they will be contending with a president’s son who has the country’s army on his side and is busy wooing another restive “army” of youths. That, certainly, will be a tough nut to crack.
My contention is that Kenyan authorities should not take Gen Kainerugaba too lightly and the time to redirect his energies away from Kenya’s territory is now, not when he decides to bring chaos to our doorstep. Even if it is true that Kenya’s foreign policy is not premised on the contents of tweets, and even if that docket is being handled by a competent individual, it would be unwise to ignore such musings altogether.
After all, it is entirely possible, as a Kenyan scholar has argued, that Gen Kainerugaba is being allowed some latitude by his fellow General to rattle neighbouring States with some specific aim in mind.
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A year ago, I was paying an average of Sh4,000 per month to clear my electricity bill. Today, I am paying an average of Sh8,000.
And according to the latest reports, the bill is bound to shoot up to twice this figure next month. I am not alone in this one, for everyone is complaining, yet the government is talking about making our manufacturing sector more vibrant and our exports competitive in the global market.
At this rate, it would require some special magic to make this happen. We may, in fact, need to go back to lighting candles at night.
Mr Ngwiri a consultant editor; [email protected]