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Will Any of these Four First Family Members Succeed Museveni in 2026?

Will Any of these Four First Family Members Succeed Museveni in 2026?
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At least four members of President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s First Family are reportedly in the queue to succeed the elderly Ugandan leader in 2026.

Months ago, President Museveni won a presidential election, earning him a five-year term that will end in 2026.

By then, Museveni (now aged 77), will be 82 by the next election – and will have ruled Uganda for four decades.

It is not clear if Museveni will seek another term but he is eligible for election according to the laws of the land, thanks to a 2017 amendment that erased the presidential age limit from the Constitution.

The question of Museveni’s 2026 candidature remains unresolved as is that of transition and succession from Uganda’s longest serving president.

Uganda, an impoverished oil-rich East African country, has never had a peaceful transition since independence.

Even when Museveni has not yet come out to speak on his 2026 presidential bid, some political observers are pointing to the following members of the first family as reportedly being in a succession queue.

  1. LT GEN MUHOOZI KAINERUGABA, FIRST SON, CLF UPDF

The talk of President Museveni reportedly grooming his son to succeed him is not new.

The ‘Muhoozi Project’ idea was first broached by former spymaster Gen David Tinyefuuza aka Sejusa in 2013.

Gen Tinyefuuza aka Sejusa was claimed there was a plot to eliminate top military and political leaders opposed to a plan by Museveni to make his son succeed him.

Although both Museveni and the first son have dismissed reports of such a plot, the steady elevation of Lt Gen Kainerugaba in military ranks and administration continues to raise eyebrows.

Months ago, Museveni appointed his son to the position of Commander Land Forces, one of the highest command roles in the national army.

Prior to his CLF appointment, Lt Gen Kainerugaba was the commandant of Special Forces (SFC), a unit charged with presidential security.

  • ODREK RWABWOGO, FIRST SON-IN-LAW

First son-in-law Odrek Rwabwogo, who is husband to Museveni’s daughter Patience, has recently been in the news over reported presidential ambitions.

In 2015, the ruling NRM Central Executive Committee (CEC) blocked Rwabwogo’s plan to challenge Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza for the position of Vice Chairman for Western Uganda.

Since then, Rwabwogo has concentrated on his businesses until an NRM youth group called Odrek Disciples came out to express support for his rumored 2026 presidential candidature.

But Rwabwogo has denied having such ambitions and made it clear Uganda is not a monarchy.

  • GEN SALIM SALEH, MUSEVENI BROTHER & OWC BOSS

President Yoweri Museveni’s younger brother Gen Caleb Akandwanaho aka Salim Saleh is many things: a former bush war commander, former minister and now Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) boss.

To some political observers, Gen Salim Saleh is the de facto Vice President of Uganda because of the power he is said to wield in decision making.

But this power is not in the formal structures of government but in what the opposition terms ‘the shadow state.’

“Salim Saleh is a pervasive presence in the Ugandan shadow state. Despite having no formal senior position in government (he is notionally a senior presidential adviser on defense) Saleh is often referred to as the deputy president. Before his health deteriorated some years ago he was considered to be Museveni’s most likely successor,” writes Dr Lisa Rolls a recent report titled ‘The Shadow State in Africa.

  • JANET MUSEVENI: FIRST LADY & EDUCATION MINISTER

Janet Kataaha Museveni is President Museveni’s wife and Uganda’s minister of education and sports.

She is a staunch Christian and the priestess of the First Family together with first daughter Patience Rwabwogo, a city pastor.

Janet Museveni has previously represented the people of Ruhaama County as an MP. She would later say God had told her to quit politics.

Before her husband appointed her education minister, Janet Museveni was minister in charge of Karamoja affairs.

Janet believes it was God who chose Museveni to lead Uganda and He will choose his successor. But the first lady is rumored to be among the most powerful officials in government and is classified among the ‘super ministers’ in cabinet.

Whenever President Museveni has broached the issue of his son or any of his family members — none of who has publicly expressed interest in the presidency — being in queue to succeed him, he has always said the people of Uganda will decide on who should lead them.

“Why should I groom my son? The people of Uganda are there. They will select whom they want,” Museveni told France 24’s Marc Perelman in September 2021.

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