President Museveni has stressed that he does not plan to remain in power forever and that Ugandans own the nation and should make decisions based on their own choices.
During a one-on-one interview with KTN, a Kenyan media outlet, Museveni remained coy about a question on succession. He was adamant that Ugandans still want him in the top job and that he would not hesitate to leave as and when the voters tell him to.
He stated that the people will continue to determine Uganda’s leadership in the post-Museveni era. “Uganda has got owners; they are here and increasing in number. When the time comes, they will sit down and decide, “he said.
Museveni was quick to point out, however, that what matters is not about who is going to govern the country but what should be done to improve the country’s economic situation. “For us, we do not think it is the who, but then what?” he added, without necessarily revealing a succession plan.
The issues we have been dealing with here since 1965 are the same problems in different phases. Now we are in an easier phase where we are running the country and the question is what is to be done. What is needed? ” Museveni said.
Uganda’s Uncertain Political Future
How Museveni’s repressive rule will finally end is going to be Uganda’s major issue for the foreseeable future. There is no doubt that his rule will come to an end. The question is not whether, but rather how, the man who has monopolized Ugandan politics and society for four decades will eventually step down from power.
Nothing could be more devastating given the current state of Uganda than a chaotic, if not fully violent, end to the nation’s longest period of government. Although Mr. Museveni downplays the importance of passing the reins of power to the next president, the longer he stays in office and dodges the succession issue, the more unstable, unclear, and risky the overall situation has become.
Museveni over the years
Museveni formerly enjoyed widespread popular support, especially in central, west, and south-western Uganda. It was because of this popularity that resulted in his ascendancy to power.
He was a ruthless businessman and gunman who organized a fighting army to launch a successful guerrilla war campaign, but that success was based on local support for his rebel organization.
However, Museveni’s popularity has declined steadily since the early 2000s with each election cycle. Like many strongmen on the continent, he has repressed the opposition and kept his hold on power by employing violent methods.
Only the 1996 and possibly the 2001 presidential elections—the only ones Museveni may have legitimately and unambiguously won—were free and fair. His continued rule has mostly been secured by the use of force and money, the state’s coercive arsenal and financial might.
Father to son succession rumor
Although Museveni has maintained that Ugandans must have the freedom to choose their own leaders, General Muhoozi, Museveni’s son, has made it clear that he wants to be in that position through his Twitter threads.
The father-to-son presidential succession wouldn’t be altogether surprising since it occurs frequently throughout much of the African continent. However, selling the idea of Museveni-to-Muhoozi in a post-Museveni Uganda is a difficult challenge.
With all the heinous abuses, blatant nepotism, and use of state power to build personal fortunes by the select few, there is a true national socio-political fatigue towards Museveni’s reign after over 40 years of uninterrupted rule.
The recent demotion of Muhoozi by his father also seems to suggest that Museveni does not fully trust his son. After threatening neighboring Kenya on Twitter, Gen. Muhoozi was removed from a military position.