Three big questions Museveni answered without saying a word with recent appointments

By Edrine Benesa

Early this month, members of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party voiced demands for the resignation of key figures associated with First Son Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s Patriotic League of Uganda (PLU) political group.

Spearheaded by the NRM National Chairman’s office, the call for resignation targeted Ministers Haruna Kyeyune Kasolo, Frank Tumwebaze, Capt Mike Mukula, and Daudi Kabanda, Member of Parliament for Kasanda Constituency.

These individuals, who hold prominent positions within the NRM, were facing pressure from party members to step down due to their alleged support for Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s political aspirations. Mukula, in particular, serves as the vice president for the eastern region within the NRM party structure.

Jamil Kazibwe, the ONC coordinator for Greater Masaka region, expressed discontent, stating, “You cannot campaign against the party that you hold its card, bring back our cards because we have our presidential candidate for 2026.”

READ: Cabinet Reshuffle: PLU’s Balaam, Lilian Aber appointed State Ministers

The demand for resignation came from concerns that the actions of these individuals have caused divisions within the NRM, particularly as the party gears up for the 2026 general elections. Kazibwe highlighted the importance of restoring unity within the party to secure victory in key regions such as Greater Masaka.

Furthermore, the members called for President Museveni to take disciplinary action against his son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, for allegedly engaging in political activities while serving in the army. This perceived violation of military protocol has raised concerns among party loyalists and intensified the calls for accountability within the NRM ranks.

Kazibwe emphasized the need to uphold the integrity of the party and ensure that individuals aligning with external groups are held accountable for their actions. The rift within the NRM underscores the underlying tensions within Uganda’s political landscape as different factions vie for influence and power.

The recent appeal was only reminiscent of the discomfort exhibited by MPs during the NRM Parliamentary Caucus meeting at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi last year.

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Addressing their concerns to President Museveni who is also the NRM National Chairman, the members sought clarification on who between Museveni and General Muhoozi would carry the party’s bendela come the next general election. The President’s response did not seem to allay those fears as the first son’s fame continued to sour. 

There have since 2022 been significant demands from party loyalists for the party to clarify who between Museveni and Muhoozi Keinerugaba will be the NRM Presidential candidate, with some voices speculating bad blood that could see both son and father on the ballot. This confusion had kept many big wigs in the party mum for fear of being caught off guard. Those who have stood firm for either side have wrongly been taken for rivals. The clearest example is Hajjati Hadijah Namyaalo on one side and General Kahinda Otafire.

With the recent cabinet and army reshuffle, however, President Museveni charismatically took a giant leap to address the big questions almost without saying a word save for that usual statement “by virtue of the powers given to me under article….,”

The appointment of Gen Muhoozi as the new CDF was a clear signal for whoever was speculating his retirement from the armed forces to keep their cool for there is evidently some unfinished business for him to attend to. The President also demonstrated his unwavering faith in his son whose track record in the military and public service has been top-notch all through.

Members of the party who have been weary of a possible contest between son and father can now rest as it’s now clear who will be their torch bearer at the next election.  Also addressed is the time for the first son to take the mantle as we can now safely point at 2031.

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As for the fate of the PLU, the new changes indicate there is completely no Animosity between the Muhooziboutfit and their parent group- NRM. This was exemplified by the appointment of its top crusaders in Balam Barugahara and Lillian Abber, alongside other outright backers in the cabinet like Frank Tumwebaze and Haruna Kasolo. This was a clear signal to all party members that the two outfits are meant to coexist and shouldn’t be cause for concern.

With Balam and Abber in the Cabinet, between now and 2026 will most likely be a defining moment for them to try and foster unity in the family that had immensely bein disintegrated along ideological lines. 

The writer is the Deputy RCC for Soroti East Division in Soroti City

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