President Yoweri Museveni has apologised to Kenyans over tweets posted by his son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba that had repeatedly threatened to invade Uganda’s East African neighbour.
In a series of tweets on Monday and Tuesday, Kainerugaba posted provocative messages, including proposing the unification of Kenya and Uganda.
“It wouldn’t take us, my army and me, 2 weeks to capture Nairobi,” Kainerugaba wrote, referring to Kenya’s capital.
“Union is a MUST! No honourable men can allow these artificial, colonial borders anymore. If our generation has men, then these borders must fall!”
President Museveni apologized for his son’s comments, saying it was wrong for public officers to meddle in the affairs of other nations.
“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 released Wednesday on his official website.
His comments drew angry reactions from Kenyans on social media and Kainerugaba, who is widely regarded as the de facto head of the military and his father’s chosen successor, was on Tuesday removed as commander of Uganda’s land forces. It was unclear whether the change was made following his controversial tweets.
He was later promoted from lieutenant general to the rank of a full general and will remain a senior presidential adviser for special operations, a Ugandan Ministry of Defence statement announced.
Despite his apology, Museveni justified Kainerugaba’s promotion, saying his son had only erred in his comments and not in his service.
“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,” the Ugandan leader said.
“There are, however, many other positive contributions the General has made and can still make,” he added while describing Kainerugaba as “a passionate Pan-Africanist.”
An outspoken general
Kainerugaba is outspoken on social media and has frequently traded barbs with opposition figures and weighed into politics, despite his military role barring him from doing so.
Kainerugaba also asked his more than 600,000 Twitter followers how many cows should be offered as a bride price for Giorgia Meloni, the right-wing politician expected to be named Italy’s prime minister this month.
“I would give her 100 Nkore cows immediately! For being fearless and true!!,” he wrote.
Kainerugaba later said the comments were made in jest. While an aide to Francesco Lollobrigida told reporters Kainerugaba’s offer was not a serious topic.
Ugandan analysts and opposition leaders have long accused the 78-year-old Museveni of grooming his son to take over from him, but Museveni, who has been in power for 36 years, has repeatedly denied doing so.