By Henry K. Otafiire
Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba has recently been trending on twitter thanks to his jabs at the National Unity Platform presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.
Muhoozi started it all.
“Someone tell this young brother of mine that we are going to beat him very badly in the polls,” Gen Muhoozi tweeted. He continued: “Ngu ‘Musinguzi’? Mbwenu ogu akasingura ki? ( What has he ever won/ accomplished?) This is an insult not only against Banyankole but against all the tribes of western Uganda.”
Kyagulanyi later shot back: “One more thing, the Banyankole did not just give me the name Musinguzi, they gave me their daughter (Barbie Itungo Kyagulanyi), my wife, and that means I am their son. They are not as hateful and as tribalistic as you are. Stop misrepresenting my in-laws,”
It should be remembered that Muhoozi and Kyagulanyi have had a twitter squabble before.
Therefore, this latest confrontation is not surprising. The backlash has been fierce from both sides.
Bobi Wine’s supporters thronged the internet and labelled the First Son “arrogant.”
In attempt to deescalate an already inflamed situation, Gen Kainerugaba immediately deleted the tweets.
For many years, Muhoozi had maintained a low profile however since talk of the so called Muhoozi Project came to the fore, he has been in the public limelight.
Some say in an attempt to emerge from his father’s larger than life shadow, he has increasingly used social media to reach out to Uganda’s youngest constituency attracting admiration and controversy in equal measure.
He has overnight become a sensation with late night tweets that range from praising the heroic exploits of his kin and kith, to chest thumping about his military accomplishments and reminding those intending to destabilise Uganda that military might of UPDF will come full throttle at it’s slightest invitation.
Yet at the heart of this twitter tirade, lies the sharp divide between two contemporaries that have scaled up towering heights of success through different paths.
Kyagulanyi is self made musician cum politician who has emerged from less privileged background, never knew the right people, never had the luxury of being able to pursue a career considered distinguished at least by our society standards.
Muhoozi’s life has been epitome of baronial privilege. He went to Nottingham University and later enrolled at Sandhurst- one of the most prestigious military academies in the world.
He has risen through the upper echelons of the army without much difficulty.
At every stage of his life, his path has been smoothed, facilitated, expedited. Doors have swung open; you can hardly blame him for walking through them because he never chose to be the First Son.
On one hand you have a military general, a product of establishment whose precincts within power circles gives him a sort of an entitlement to finally claim his rightful place at the throne.
While on the other, you have a self made hustler who against challenging odds, has prospered in a society we occasionally and amusingly describe as a meritocracy.
So when Muhoozi and Kyagulanyi are hitting each other jabs and exchanging barbs on social media, then, what we are really seeing is a tussle for power and centre stage.
And so we should avoid the temptation to view the clash between Kyagulanyi and Muhoozi as just a mere a twitter squabble, a juvenile tiff between two public figures.
And it is why, slowly and by degrees, a minor detail like a twitter feud assumes an almost totemic importance in shaping the debate and public opinion.
Kyagulanyi knows that taking on the First Son gives him a political mileage and sets pace for a real political showdown in the near future as transition to post Museveni presidency draws near.
The author is a political and social commentator