I learnt from Yusuf Sserunkuma's article with The Observer on Wednesday, 29th September 2021 that allegedly, in the current 11th parliament, there are 120 MPs directly sponsored by Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
Upon reading the allegation, the name Daudi Kabanda quickly came into my mind; probably because I always see him donning T-shirts with messages endorsing the first son. Away from Kabanda, it was very illuminating and awakening to learn about the 120 MPs. I must confess that I believed the allegation more than I doubted it.
The rumour that Muhoozi will stand for the presidency in 2026 is growing stronger, but the general public is still blind to his level of preparedness. Although I'm very sceptical that the dad will step down from power for his son, I can't entirely dismiss the possibility.
The 120 MPs, I guess, are sponsored to solve the popularity question in case Muhoozi finally contests in a presidential election. I'm not acquainted with the size of constituencies the 120 MPs command, but I acknowledge that the number is significant.
Although I find their number significant, I'm very doubtful whether the MPs can make Muhoozi so popular not to require extra support such as military and or police and overwhelming financial support - which are paramount kinds of support in Uganda's context.
Maj John Kazoora, in his chilling book, Betrayed by My Leader, revealed: "In one Ankole caucus meeting, Winnie Karagwa Byanyima brought up the sensitive issue of his son - Muhoozi Kainerugaba. She asked him why his son was recruiting boys to join the army. Museveni seemed to be shocked by the question. He said: "Iwe Karagwe-mwatandika kutiina omwereere." Meaning; "You Karagwa you have started fearing toddlers".
He then said: "Muhoozi is not even LDU (a member of the Local Defence Unit) - I just asked him to identify people of good character who can be absorbed in the army."
At this point Winnie Byanyima reminded him that the army had structures of recruitment and that he should respect them. Indeed, years later these boys of good character are now Colonels and Brigadiers heading the Special Forces Guard (which is now the Special Forces Command, SFC)"
Maj Kazoora published his memoirs about nine years ago. If by the time of authoring his book the "boys of good character" were at the ranks of colonel and brigadier, what could be their ranks now? Isn't it possible that Muhoozi has military generals who pay allegiance to him now?
It's also noteworthy that over time, police has been militarized. To deploy a military general (who's Muhoozi's confidant) to head police with specific instructions to advance the project may not raise citizens' eyebrows for it's utterly normal to have army generals presiding over police.
Since it's the dad in power, the financial hurdle can easily be solved through inflated State House budgets and whatnot. Sometime last year, I read an illuminating article authored by Canary Mugume, a journalist with Next Media.
In the article, Gen Salem Saleh instituted an independent committee of economists upon reading of the national budget which, after assessing the fiscal arrangements of that financial year, wrote a report recommending that the five trillion from the budget be channelled to Operation Wealth Creation - which is presided over by Saleh himself. I didn't follow up to ascertain whether the five trillion was diverted, but Museveni was in support of the suggestion from the brother.
With access to such monies, if uncle Saleh, who influenced Muhoozi to join the army, chooses to support the nephew, the financial challenge can be overcome smoothly.
Muhoozi has also exhibited that he's willing to serve the interests of international players. He has been actively involved in the AMISOM which puts him in the good books of international players such as USA. Now, USA, Uganda's biggest donor knows that he's a guy they can work with.
With Washington behind him, local military and police on his side, mass political mobilisation on stand by and access to large sums of money, the odds against his presidency might be inferior to his chances.
The author is a Ugandan citizen