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The Muhoozi army, a threat to the peace of Uganda

None peaceful political transitions have characterised Uganda’s governance for the entire post-independence era.

As early as 2001, this culture of violence was introduced into Uganda’s politics and the electoral process.

The violence escalated through the 2006 and 2011 elections reaching epic levels during the 2016 and 2021elections.

Violence will turn out to be a response to the well recruited grounded Muhoozi Kainerugaba alias MK army from the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF).

Whether the MK-army is directly participating or influencing the 2026 elections, the warrior mad king scenario will become an inevitable possibility of a new era of violence that will either be tagged to the president or his family or them against other Ugandans in their political groupings.

For close to two years, the Uganda People’s Defense Forces has witnessed and just looked on as one of its own builds an army within the UPDF.

This army is championed by Muhoozi and coordinated by uniformed men and women in our national politics.

Whereas the Constitution and the Uganda Peoples Defense Forces 2005 bar any serving UPDF officers from participating in active politics.

The formation of the Muhoozi Army is similar to the reserve force prescribed in Section 6 of the UPDF Act.

He has crowned himself as the commander in chief similar to that of Section 8 of the UPDF Act.

The Muhoozi Army has structures that resembles the UPDF and state or government of Uganda.

This has turned out into a militia kind of group. The group has built an intolerant media response team both online and mainstream.

It looks to have a lot of state protection and the power seem not to hold. What is critical of national concern is the silence of both power and authority in the UPDF.

The UPDF seem not to have capacity to discipline or call to order the serving general and first son.

The silence in the UPDF should worry the nation. Either the UPDF is building a silent force for the MK Army or will prepare to engage militarily the MK movement and MK army once a non-democratic process or civic engagement appear to be led by this militia group.

Uganda is deeply challenged to fear engaging this movement. This is partly because it seems to have authorisation and endorsement from the current head of state.

Also, the MK movement operates a hybrid of campaign. The campaign for the next leadership (supreme leader) and the campaign not to attack the current president. This is a survival strategy.

However, it may not guarantee peace given that the MK movement appear to build a non-formal political structure, vulgarises political parties including the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and has used social media and parties.

In each of these, the state has appeared to serve the president through his son. Currently, the entire state institutions and government actors find loyalty to the president through serving his son.  The actors who should engage the MK Army fear the verbal attack from its protagonists

With Uganda’s history of having not had peaceful transition, every peace-loving citizen must get concerned.

The Muhoozi Army could plant a seed of violence given its growing community structure in public life, media, traditional nations of Uganda and regions.

The Muhoozi Army could overwhelm the state and propel undemocratic means of acquiring power.

The intentions are not clear yet and so is the militia means of work. Uganda has had unconstitutional transitions right from Obote, Amin and the Museveni takeovers.

The role of the army and actions or inactions of the army has either propelled peace or violence. Uganda must get concerned about the army formulation within the UPDF.

General Muhoozi, a serving officer in the UPDF has vehemently communicated both domestic and foreign policy in addition to championing political activism for himself.

He has declared on his twitter handle his 2026 bid. In essence, the Muhoozi Army, is a threat to the peace of Uganda.

The militia like tactics have been branded but could steer violent actions from within the UPDF and reactions from other youthful political groups who focus on transition.

Every Ugandan must get concerned about the MK army. Not because of General Kainerugaba succeeding his father but doing political campaigns, building a political movement and consolidating a political journey while still a serving army officer.

It plants a seed of impunity, anxiety, institutional failure, indiscipline and future bad precedence for the army, rule of law and constitutional order.

The alternative political groupings will also set to establish counter armies that is not based could purge Uganda’s possible peace agenda.

It is argued that Uganda is at a point of unprecedented domestic polarization and a threat to the peace given the unclear path the MK army seem to take that seem not to communicate constitutional approaches but taking over as a standby generator.  

This is also a threat to the elected president and political line Uganda has attained.

Uganda must have the capacity to mitigate any likelihood of violence by any social movement.

The MK army could replace the people power movement that has of recent been radical and insulting everything opposed to them though predominately manned through social media. It crates another culture moreover in the national army that coordinates all armed forces, a challenge to our peace and security.

The writer is the Executive Director, Recreation for Development and Peace (RDP Uganda)

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