On Tuesday, Uganda’s president’s son, a lieutenant general, announced his retirement from the military, a move largely perceived as laying the groundwork for a presidential candidacy in 2026.
Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who has served in the military for more than 20 years, is accused by critics of President Yoweri Museveni of being hurried up the ranks by his father. Many Ugandans believe Kainerugaba is being groomed to take Museveni’s place as president.
“I am glad to announce my retirement after 28 years of service in my magnificent military, the greatest military in the world,” Kainerugaba said on Twitter on Tuesday, without elaborating on his decision.
Museveni, who has controlled Uganda since 1986, has refuted allegations that he wants to give over power to his son, while Kainerugaba’s supporters argue that he has the same right to run for president as any other citizen.
Following visiting Kigali and meeting President Paul Kagame, Kainerugaba, a prolific Twitter user who proclaimed his support for Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, managed to heal Uganda’s troubled relations with Rwanda this year.
Kainerugaba’s supporters have been pushing a campaign for him to run for office in 2026 on social media and elsewhere, despite the fact that he has not openly proclaimed his intention to run. Soldiers are not allowed to participate in politics in Uganda.
Human rights organizations, Ugandan opposition members, and government critics have long accused his father of abusing the military to maintain his power by intimidating and imprisoning his opponents.
In January of last year, Museveni was re-elected, defeating pop star-turned-politician Bobi Wine. Wine slammed the result, claiming it was riddled with flaws.