First Son and Commander Land Forces in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, has announced retirement from the army.
Muhoozi used his twitter account of more than 500,000 followers to break the news of his retirement saying: “After 28 years of service in my glorious military, the greatest military in the world, I am happy to announce my retirement.”
Muhoozi added: “Me and my soldiers have achieved so much! I have only love and respect for all those great men and women that achieve greatness for Uganda everyday.”
Muhoozi’s ‘casual’ announcement, is both a shock but also unsurprising especially considering his recent behaviour.
If the announcement on Twitter – his favourite and popular communication outlet, is not the work of hackers, the First son’s sudden walk-away from the force comes right in the middle of Operation Shujaa – the Joint (Uganda – DRC) armed hunt for the Allied Defence Forces (ADF) rebels in the DR Congo, which he has been commanding. It is rare for a soldier to abandon such an important assignment.
But it could be due to pressure from the military itself or even other centres of power, considering the casualness and generally lack of conventional military discipline with which he approached his tasks.
For example on Monday March 6, he posted a message that some considered as disrespectful of the service and sacrifice by Uganda’s diplomats when he openly attributed the full reopening of the Katuna border between Uganda and Rwanda to his intervention.
He said: “The border is fully opening tomorrow. Me and my uncle (President Kagame) achieved in 7 hours what all the diplomats on earth failed to achieve. I think we need a prize.”
Muhoozi’s retirement will be unsettling for some senior soldiers including Gen. David Sejjusa, who has been denied retirement for now over 20 years.
His retirement also comes in the wake of accusations including from novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija that the first son personally masterminded his gruesome torture. Kakwenza escaped from Uganda recently to Germany where he is allegedly receiving medical treatment.