President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni says he is ready to pack his bags and leave for his retirement country home of Rwakitura in Kiruhura District, about 250km southwest of the capital Kampala.
Now aged 79, Museveni will have ruled Uganda for a cool four decades by the end of his current five-year term won in the chaotic 2021 presidential election.
Museveni has not yet indicated he is leaving but he says he has no problem with retiring to his country of Rwakitura where he has hundreds of cattle.
Ahead of the 2026 elections, his ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party sees him as its best candidate for the country’s top job. Museveni, a former Bush war commander, maintains a tight group on the ruling party, fusing it with the state and government.
While many within the NRM may not challenge him for the presidency and party chairmanship lest what has befallen those who dared him – such as former powerful Prime Minister and party secretary general John Patrick Amama Mbabazi – befalls them, his son Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba has expressed interest in succeeding him, saying he was tired of waiting forever.
But Museveni has two conditions that must be met before he retires. First, the ruling NRM – which he controls – must decide that he is no longer the right man for the job and choose a successor he is convinced he can steer Uganda forward.
Secondly, Museveni’s delayed retirement has for long been hinged on his long-term goal of ensuring that he lives in the country and the African continent in a prosperous and safer place.
“I can go to Rwakitura anytime if our party agrees. Rwakitura is always waiting for me – very comfortable. I have never needed a job. This part of the problem you think. I do not need a job. I have never needed one,” he said in an interview.
“But the problem is to transition Africa – or Uganda which we are involved in – to a position where we are safe in the world, and prosperous.”
In the last election, Museveni compared some of the candidates, potential successors and former Bush war comrades, to ‘wheelbarrows.’ He also, months ago, dismissed claims that he had agreed to peacefully hand over power in 2031.