Solve issues behind Museveni son’s gaffe
Twitter posts by General Muhoozi Kainerugaba insinuating that the Ugandan military can take over Nairobi in under two weeks could pass as online banter if they originated from an ordinary Ugandan. Not so, coming from Gen Kainerugaba.
Not only is he a top ranking military officer but also the son of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his possible political successor.
Although President Museveni apologised over his son’s gaffe, diplomats from the two countries must meet at the earliest opportunity to calm nerves and prevent the issue from degenerating.
While he appeared to retract the tweets, saying he was joking and had no intention of taking over Kenya, the casual nature he managed the whole scenario sent negative vibes about the region’s social, political and economic health.
Even as Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs distanced itself from the remarks and reaffirmed the country’s continued bilateral ties with Kenya, the president went ahead to promote his son after his threats to invade Kenya.
Muhoozi, who was Uganda’s land forces commander, was promoted to the rank of General.
Although he moved from heading Uganda’s infantry forces, he was promoted to a five-star General and will remain a military adviser to Museveni, which begs the question of what kind of advice he could offer.
Uganda is Kenya’s largest trading partner after the United States. Therefore, such a pronouncement creates perceived animosity, with traders and even international investors likely to adopt a wait-and-see attitude.
But more importantly, with so much going on in the East African Community (EAC), particularly the increasingly fragile co-existence in a country like Congo where EAC wanted to deploy peacekeepers to restore order, and a change of guard in Kenya, diverting attention from core issues like peace is uncalled for and borders on recklessness.
The tweets raised many questions, which remain unanswered. For instance, was Kainerugaba speaking at his own behest? If not, who was the originator of the messages? Is Uganda unhappy with Kenya because the country supports the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)? Both Uganda and Congo are considered among beneficiaries of mineral resources in DRC. Or is it to do with changes in port operations in Kenya?
Whatever the case, there is a need to address the matter at high levels. Such scenarios must not be allowed to happen again.