DUBAI: Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the son of Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, said that he will succeed his father — if he gets enough likes on Twitter.
Kainerugaba, a general in his country’s armed forces and a prolific tweeter, wrote on Monday: “Okay, let those who want me to be president after my father retweet and like. If you convince me, I will do it.”
As of Tuesday evening, the tweet had racked up more than 2,100 retweets and 7,400 likes. Uganda has a population of more than 47 million.
Kainerugaba, who is commonly referred to by his first name, which means “avenger,” has a track record of ambitious tweets. For example, he previously offered to give Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni a gift of 100 cows. “In our culture you give a girl you like a cow,” he wrote. He has also shared musings about the possibility of invading Kenya.
In response to previous criticism of his tweets, and an apparent suggestion by a journalist in Kenya that he be banned from Twitter, Kainerugaba posted a message in October that said: “I am an adult and NO ONE will ban me from anything!”
While Kainerugaba’s latest tweet might seem to be just his latest bizarre and outrageous comment, some observers have suggested that it might very well be part of a carefully considered political strategy, as his 78-year-old father, who has been Uganda’s ruler since 1986, is thought to be grooming him to take the reins of power.
“That family controls Uganda,” said Peter Kagwanja, president and CEO of the Africa Policy Institute. “His mother is in the cabinet and he is the prince, waiting to succeed his father.
“Muhoozi provokes, then his father arranges for him to go and apologize, and in this way he is introduced into the circles of leaders.”
However, Kainerugaba denies any ambition to rule his country. In a message posted immediately before the one saying that he would take over from his father if he got enough retweets and likes, he wrote: “Some people keep saying I want to be president? Frankly speaking that has never been in my mind.”
Time will tell whether he gets enough likes and retweets to convince him to change his mind.
Not everyone in Uganda enjoys as much freedom on Twitter. Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, a prominent Ugandan author and lawyer, has said he was tortured while in detention after sharing a series of tweets that were judged to be insulting to Kainerugaba and his father.