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Yoweri Kaguta Museveni

Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is the current President of Uganda and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces; he has been in that position since January 26, 1986. Gen. Museveni was born on August 15, 1944 in Ntungamo District, Western Uganda, a member of the Nyankole ethnic group. He was the first of three children Mzee Amos Kaguta and Esteri Kokundeka had. His sister Violet Kajubiri and younger brother Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho (a retired army officer) were born in later years.

His surname, Museveni, means “son of a man of the seventh,” in honor of the 7th Battalion of the Kings African Rifles, the British colonial unit in which many Ugandans served during World War II. Museveni gets his middle name from his father, Amos Kaguta, who was a cattle herder. Gen. Museveni attended Kyamate Primary School, Mbarara High School, and Ntare School. It was while at high school that Museveni became an active member of the students’ revolutionary movements that were fighting for independence and de-colonization for African countries.

In 1967, Museveni joined the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. There he studied economics and political science, involving himself in radical pan-African politics. While at the university, he formed the University Students’ African Revolutionary Front (USARF), which was a students’ activist group. Later on, he led a students’ delegation to FRELIMO liberated territory in Portuguese controlled Mozambique, where he received guerilla training.

Studying under the leftist academic Walter Rodney, among others, Museveni wrote a university thesis on the applicability of Frantz Fanon’s ideas on revolutionary violence to the liberation struggles in colonial Africa. He graduated in 1970.

In 1970, Museveni joined the Office of the President; the Ugandan President at the time was Apollo Milton Obote. When Maj. Gen. Idi Amin seized power in a January 1971 military coup, Museveni left for Tanzania with other opponents of the newly installed Amin regime.

The exiled forces opposed to Idi Amin, who were predominantly comprised of former members of the Obote regime, invaded Uganda from Tanzania in September 1972 and were repelled, suffering heavy losses in the process. Museveni participated in this attack (although he was opposed to the methodology used by the exiles) and was fortunate to survive the experience.

Museveni briefly worked as a lecturer at a co-operative college in Moshi, in Northern Tanzania, before breaking away from the mainstream opposition and forming the Front for National Salvation (FRONASA) in 1973. In August of the same year, he married Janet Kataha, a former secretary and airline stewardess with whom he would have four children.

When at one time he was asked whether he still wished to continue as President, Museveni remarked that he would only do so if the people of Uganda decided that they still wanted him. Later, he modified the term people to a smaller group whom he called “my people”.

More recently he revealed is that he will retire only after he finds a worthy successor. In light of his severe condemnation of incumbent ministers, cadres and supporters of the NRM party of which he is co-founder, where from, one may ask, will he find a worthy successor?

In August 2012 President Museveni, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief (CIC) of the armed forces, promoted his son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba from Colonel to Brigadier. It was the second promotion for Muhoozi who had been promoted from Lieutenant Colonel to Colonel in September 2011. Unlike in the past, the August 2012 promotion of Muhoozi did not raise a lot of questions. It showed that the public were getting used to the First Son as a top army officer.

Muhoozi had just finished his National Defence Collage course and, even among the most observant, an announcement that followed Muhoozi's elevation to Brigadier passed almost unnoticed; apart from becoming a Brigadier, Muhoozi was also named the Commander of a newly created Special Forces Command.

In May 2013, the Daily Monitor broke a story about a letter, written by former security official David Sejusa to the head of Uganda’s national security services, calling for an investigation into an alleged plot to assassinate senior government and military officials who were opposed to a plan to install Museveni’s son as his successor in 2016.

The issue of a successor in NRM provoked debate in the party and has even led some government officials like General David Sejusa to flee the country. Some like Senior Presidential Advisor on Media and Public Relations John Nagenda demanded that the president names a successor in the interest of national stability. Nagenda later retracted his statements.

Museveni, who had been elected to his fifth term in 2011, is not expected to run again. There is speculation that Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi may be planning to upstage President Museveni in the 2016 General elections. Former Vice President Gilbert Balibaseka Bukenya has also announced his desire to contest against his former boss. Both were leader put in their positions by President Museveni.

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Page last modified: 16-06-2015 20:53:12 ZULU