On Thursday February 3, 2022 First Son Muhoozi Kainerugaba took to his twitter handle, (@mkainerugaba), to shower praises on Democratic Party President Norbert Mao.
Terming him as “My big brother”, Muhoozi said; “My big brother @norbertmao is the most brilliant opposition leader in Uganda today. He has Presidential skills.”
As expected, there were diverse reactions to the tweet. While many quickly jumped onto the legendary accusation that Mao is indeed a Museveni mole and the tweet cemented it, Muhoozi diehards watered it down as a mere innocent remark from an amiable general willing to work with any willingly patriotic Ugandan regardless of political shade.
However, the tweet brought to life hushed reports that actually Muhoozi and Mao are covertly morphing into a future lethal political combo which will be unleashed to actualize the Muhoozi presidency/project.
It is worth noting that while claims of Muhoozi’s presidential ambitions are being muted especially by his father, it is apparent that a push for the same is already on. For instance, it is now a public secret that during his much publicized numerous MK@48 birthday parties, many of his supporters donned T-shirts announcing or agitating for a Muhoozi presidency/presidential bid. These had inscriptions like MUHOOZI MY PRESIDENT, The Generational LEADER, MK 2026-2031, STANDBY GENERATOR, among others.
Incidentally, even President Museveni has sent out very philosophical messages on the same message, many times almost hinting at full support of his son’s presidential bid while at the same time quickly evading the same.
For instance, on April 25, 2022, while gracing the Muhoozi 48th birthday party which was even attended by Rwandan president Paul Kagame at State House, Museveni thanked friends of Muhoozi who were behind the MK birthday drives. He then went on to encourage parents to stop standing in their children’s dreams.
“I want to congratulate you on your 48 years. Thank you friends of Muhoozi for organizing all these events… “So that’s why you should be careful not to want to control your children to do exactly what you’re doing. No no no…give them your opinion, let them do what they think is right. If it is wrong they will learn from it. The crucial thing is to give them your opinion. But suppressing them; you may actually be the one who is in the wrong and they are right…because that’s what happens,” Museveni said.
And on February 4, 2022, President Museveni told judicial officers during the launching of the New Year Law that he named his son Muhoozi (Avenger) because he will avenge for him once anything happens to him. Bringing the point closer to home, Museveni stated that while he has been a bit lenient with the corrupt, his son hates corruption and will therefore deal harshly with the corrupt. But without putting a timeline on when Muhoozi will deal with these corrupt and in which capacity, Ugandans could only remain guessing since in Uganda corruption is largely blamed on the head of state!
Conversely, the president has on many occasions also come out to deny backing his son to succeed him, saying this is a decision for Ugandans to make.
The latest of such clarifications happened on May 15, 2022 when during exclusive interview with TRT World, an international media house at Nakasero State Lodge, the President defended his son’s birthday rallies as mere birthday parties. This was after the interviewer put it to him that he was in support of these birthdays which his son is using to garner political support and make political statements which are in total breach of the law and have led to some serving army generals like Henry Tumukunde and David Sejusa to the Court Martial.
“It was only a birthday, there was good will and people came up which was good but it was only a birthday,” Museveni said.
THE MAO-MUHOOZI DUET
But while the president has remained cagey on the claim of grooming his son (which was exposed in 2013), there are loud rumors that Muhoozi presidency promoters have since identified Mao as one of the levelheaded people to team with MK.
“Initially the plan was to use Bobi Wine to rally behind Muhoozi and push the generational agenda but he went rogue. That’s why Mao is seen as a perfect fit. The idea is that even those who feel exhausted by the Museveni long presidency will be accommodative of his son as long as he is seen to come alongside a neutral person who is outside the current Firsts Family,” a source said.
Once Mao finally settles within the proposed coalition, he and Muhoozi are supposed to stand for the presidency as presidential candidate and running mate. Already, sources say, Mao and Muhoozi are tight friends who share political notes from time to time and this explains why recently, Muhoozi took to twitter to heap praises on his ‘brother’ Mao as one of the most intelligent politicians of this generation.
HOW NEW PACT CAN Kill NRM
Ironically, the NRM-DP or M7-Mao pact brings two critical dimensions that mirror the Kenyan scenario and also most importantly brings a Muhoozi presidency closer to reality.
The first is that it lays foundation for the potential ‘death’ of NRM and also presents President Museveni with a seasoned politician that can mould political ‘rough diamond’ Muhoozi into the ‘fine political diamond’ needed to take on the mantle from his father.
History has it that upon realizing that fellow freedom fighters led by Jaramogi Oginga-Odinga were very ambitious and power-hungry, Uhuru Kenyatta’s father Jomo Kenyatta decided to overlook the political hyenas of the time and instead passed the presidential baton to a less ambitious and unquestioningly loyal Daniel Arap Moi. It is said that as part of his dying wishes, he entrusted Moi with the task of grooming his son Uhuru into a presidential material and also help him become president of Kenya.
Fast forward, on March 18, 2002, a M7-Mao-like pact happened in Kenya when the ruling Kenya African National Union (KANU) led by President Daniel Arap Moi entered into an MoU to work together with the National Development Party (NDP) led by Raila Odinga. This, Moi did, to increase chances of KANU winning the elections, particularly targeting Luo voters who were Odinga’s tribesmates. However, Moi — perhaps driven by the duty to fulfil his mentor Kenyatta’s wish — betrayed Raila and didn’t endorse him for the presidency as earlier agreed in the MoU. Moi instead supported Mzee Kenyatta’s son, Uhuru, making him the official KANU candidate. This angered Odinga who subsequently led other former NDP leaders to join with the People’s Coalition group and the National Alliance of Kenya to form a “formidable opposition alliance” called the National Rainbow Coalition. This would go on to front Mwai Kibaki who defeated Uhuru thus ending KANU’s 40-year grip on the Kenyan presidential seat. To date, KANU is a limping party led by Moi’s son Gideon.
When the above is put in the Ugandan context, in Mao Museveni has a person who can ably groom his son. This is considering talk that the President will most likely present himself for election in 2026— especially given that he recently said he could retire at 94 years.
This will then give Muhoozi enough time to be groomed politically and come with a bang once his dad gives way. It should be noted that the same happened to Uhuru Kenyatta who upon losing the presidency in 2002 following accusations of living a ‘boozified’ reckless lifestyle, laid back and underwent grooming until 2013 when he came and sailed to victory as a politically ‘finished article’.
Coincidentally, it is important to note that just like KANU in 2002, NRM is equally nearing its 40th year in power (dawning in 2026). It is interestingly though, to note that for the very first time in its history, this year talk of the potential collapse of NRM emerged. This was uttered by Muhoozi himself, who hinted that he could form the National Progressive Movement (NPM). Analysts say that while this may appear like empty rhetoric, it is very likely that Muhoozi will never stand as a candidate in NRM. “Already there are people in the party who feel that Muhoozi is way behind them in the succession queue and therefore can’t come before them. That automatically means that to stand any chance of less or no opposition to his presidential candidature he simply has to form another party. The talk of that new party therefore is not as empty as it seems,” an observer said. The source added that because not many of Museveni’s current contemporaries are willing to groom Muhoozi, an outsider like Mao would perfectly do the job.
This further explains talk that a deal is on the cards to ease Mao into cabinet, with speculation rife that he could be appointed to fill the vacant position of justice & constitutional affairs minister. This comes on the heels of earlier talk that the same man had been lined up for the Prime Minister’s job. But whereas then it was impossible for a shock Mao appointment to cabinet, his new officially announced working relationship with Museveni puts him in very good stead to join cabinet and even openly fraternize with Muhoozi without hushed rumors.
Another source added that in Mao, Museveni can get a very loyal servant to groom his son because experience has shown that due to the burden of having to prove loyalty, politicians from the opposition have proved to be very loyal and effective when executing President Museveni’s assignments. This can be seen in parliament where the speaker and deputy speaker both crossed from FDC but are doing a good job for the president, unlike former speaker Rebecca Kadaga who would at times give him a hard time.
As things stand now, Mao has dropped his political pants and shown readiness for a new marriage with NRM. However, his only hurdle remains convincing the DP National Executive Committee (NEC) which was allegedly not informed of the new move. It has however emerged that Mao has a chance to convince the NEC on August 14th about his decision and present the said MoU to see whether members will embrace the new working agreement with Museveni.
Watch this space!!