General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, pictured in 2016. Photo: PETER BUSOMOKE/AFP via Getty Images
NAIROBI, Kenya – Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has apologised to the whole of Kenya – and Uganda – over bizarre tweets sent by his son, General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, threatening to capture neighbouring Kenya’s capital in less than two weeks.“I ask our Kenyan brothers and sisters to forgive us for tweets sent by General Muhoozi, former Commander of Land Forces here, regarding the election matters in that great country,” Museveni wrote in a statement he posted on Twitter.
In his statement, the president reprimanded his 48-year-old son, warning that it is not proper for public officers whether civilian or military to comment on the affairs of a “brother country” like Kainerugaba did. The fallout started on Monday after General Kainerugaba, known as the “Tweeting General,” claimed, for some reason, “It wouldn't take us, my army and me, 2 weeks to capture Nairobi.”
The tweets ignited angry responses from Kenyans on Twitter, commonly known as KoT, with many questioning if the account had been hacked, others laughing off the tweets as a joke while others, including politicians, called on the general to delete the tweet and to respect Kenya’s sovereignty. Uganda’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs quickly tried to play damage control, insisting it had “strong bilateral relations” with Kenya.While Museveni fired his son as the infantry commander in charge of Uganda’s land forces, he at the same time promoted him to a four-star general, something the president directly addressed in his statement.“Why, then, promote him to full General after these comments? This is because this mistake is one aspect where he has acted negatively as a Public officer. There are, however, many other positive contributions the General has made and can still make. This is a time-tested formula – discourage the negative and encourage the positive,” Museveni wrote.
Many Ugandan and regional critics have questioned Kainerugaba’s military credentials. He was appointed by his father as the commander of land forces in the army in June 2021 having previously served as the commander of the Special Forces Command.
It’s rumoured that the 76-year-old President Museveni, one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, is grooming Kainerugaba’s to take over the presidency once he retires. The president’s statement was signed, “YK Museveni (Gen. Rtd.) The old man with a hat.”