As the Lt. Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s presidential project continues to gather speed, the beneficiary is progressively doing things which suggest he is in a hurry to break out of daddy President Yoweri Museveni’s shadow.
Muhoozi is moving at such a break neck speed that he is even overtaking his own father as far as putting together his presidential bid is concerned.
In yet a more demonstrable statement of intent of his wish to take over the mantle from his father, President Yoweri Museveni, the Land’s Forces commander, Lt Gen Muhoozi matter of days overtly and boldly publicized his resignation from the military.
In choosing to leave the army using unorthodox means, Muhoozi is probably helping to lend credence to critics who assert that what he is doing is expected of a guy who used correspondingly unconventional means to gain entry into the army by being recruited as a village paramilitary vigilant (read LDU).
By seeking to leave the army, Muhoozi also vindicates analysts and former military officers such as Dr Col Warren Kizza Kifeefe Besigye who have been asserting for many years that his father is grooming him to take the presidency after him.
When the Muhoozi presidential project was first leaked by Gen David Sejusa, the beneficiary condescendingly dismissed the same as idle talk. Museveni himself has been denying in several public interviews grooming his son for the presidency.
But following the First Son’s declaration stating his wish to quit the army, the commander-in-chief, Gen Museveni merely ‘pleaded’ with him to stay in the military. This is unquestionably a complete departure from Museveni’s hard-hitting stance which saw him dragging Gen David Sejusa and Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde to the military courts for announcing their resignation from the army publicly.
Whilst Gen Museveni has been brutally handling senior serving military officers for engaging into politics, he has on the contrary been handling the First Son with kid gloves and in fact, apparently waving him on whenever he has spoken out on such highly controversial matters.
The president has further gone on record to castigate senior members of the ruling NRM party for what he calls jumping the queue in reference to eyeing his enviable seat, but he has not stopped anyone from promoting Muhoozi’s presidential candidature let alone blocked the son from promoting his candidature.
Muhoozi articulated his desire to leave the army in a recent tweet. The tweet virtually sent the social media on fire. Some among Ugandans buttressed Muhoozi’s right to exit the military whilst the others using the example of Gen Sejusa, told the First Son he just can’t wake up and walk out of the military.
A three-member court of appeal panel led by Justice Christopher Madrama recently crushed a high court judgment by Lady Justice Margaret Oguli which had permitted Sejusa to leave the military. Oguli while freeing Sejusa from the military, reasoned that the out-of-favor war decorated general cannot be said to be part of the institution which isn’t paying him any salary or benefits attached to the job.
Oguli further ruled that a military officer whose bosses fail to deploy for years going on to starve him of things he is entitled to such as food rations, military guards and uniforms, cannot be ideally treated as a serving member of the same institution.
But Madrama’s panel reversed the judgment. Madrama clarified that Sejusa ought to have exhausted the administrative channels prior to running to court to secure a release from the military. As such, Madrama held, Sejusa turned up in court without a grievance to talk of since he hadn’t put his case to the military administrative tribunals which refused to let him go.
Sejusa fell out with the commander-in-chief, Gen Museveni after he issued a public mockery of the military and himself for failing to rout out Joseph Kony’s rag-tag rebels that were at the time causing havoc in the northern part of the country.
In an acerbic tone, Sejusa demanded of the military to publicly accept defeat and then get out of the trenches since, according to him, the army had failed to overcome Kony and his marauding rebels.
Museveni ordered Sejusa’s prosecution at the dreaded military court. Sejusa reacted by demanding for release from the army. He said he had developed irreconcilable differences with the institution and so it was only fair and just for both parties to part ways. The military refused to let him go.
Sejusa’s lawyer, Godfrey Sserunkuma Lule filed a lawsuit arguing that the military had turned to conscripting his client, which he asserted, was analogous to enslaving him. Justice Egonda Ntende ruled initially in Sejusa’s favor.
But Justice George Kanyeihamba in a striking judgment on appeal noted that the military is a special institution from which a military officer cannot depart at a whim. Kanyeihamba likened giving a military officer the liberty to retire when he or she chooses to giving liberty to captain of the ship captain to abandon passengers in face of a raging storm.
The now retired justice added that if court allowed Sejusa’s wish, military officers would end up using the judgment to walk out of the army even in the midst of the war.
Anyway, Kanyeihamba was expected to rule against Sejusa. While still serving as the Attorney General under Museveni’s administration, the renowned judge commented that he would overturn Justice Egonda’s judgment in case he secured the opportunity to preside over the matter.