KAMPALA – President Yoweri Museveni has ousted his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba as commander of Uganda’s land forces, the military announced on Tuesday after he repeatedly tweeted threats to invade neighboring Kenya.
Kainerugaba, who is widely seen as the de facto leader of the army and his father’s chosen successor, later said the comments were a hoax.
In the statement announcing his replacement as commander of ground forces, the army said Kainerugaba had been promoted from lieutenant general to general and would remain a senior adviser to the president for special operations. There was no reason provided for the decision.
Kainerugaba is outspoken on social media, frequently trading barbs with opposition figures and getting involved in politics, although his military role prevents him from doing so.
On Monday and Tuesday, he sent a series of provocative messages on Twitter, including proposals to unite Kenya and Uganda and offering cows to marry Italy’s likely next leader.
“It wouldn’t take us, my army and me, 2 weeks to capture Nairobi,” Kainerugaba tweeted, in reference to Kenya’s capital.
“Union is a MUST! No honourable men can allow these artificial, colonial borders anymore. If we our generation has men then these borders must fall!” the tweet concluded.
His comments drew angry reaction from Kenyans on social media.
Without referring directly to Kainerugaba, Uganda’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that it was committed to its “peaceful coexistence” with neighboring Kenya.
A Kenyan government spokesman said he had not read Uganda’s statement and would respond later.
After the military released its statement on Tuesday, Kainerugaba retweeted a series of congratulatory messages, including several that he is expected to run for president in the upcoming elections.
“We will celebrate this rank at Kampala Road. I thank my father for this great honor!” Kainerugaba tweeted.
Ugandan analysts and opposition leaders have long accused Museveni, 78, of bringing his son to replace him, but Museveni, who has been in power for 36 years, has repeatedly denied it.
On Monday, Kainerugaba asked his more than 600,000 Twitter followers how many cows should be offered as the bride price for Giorgia Meloni, the right-wing politician who is set to be named Italy’s prime minister this month.
“I would give him 100 Nkore cows right away! To be fearless and truthful!!” he wrote.
Francesco Lollobrigida, a close associate of Meloni, told reporters that Kainerugaba’s offer was not a serious problem.
- Editor/ main report by Reuters