The Best Man for the Job

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An Ebola outbreak is occurring in Uganda, raising fears that the country will not be able to contain and control the deadly disease in the East African nation, reported CNN. Public health officers are scrambling to trace contacts between potentially infected people and everyone else, a monumental effort that shut down the economies of countries like Sierra Leone and Liberia in Western Africa between 2014 and 2016.

Worryingly, infections have been concentrated in a highly trafficked area that lies between the capital of Kampala and a number of gold mines where workers congregate, according to the Associated Press.

That crisis erupted earlier this month at around the same time that Uganda paid the first $65 million installment of the $325 million owed in reparations to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The International Court of Justice ordered Uganda to pay for losses stemming from Ugandan troops occupying Congolese territory during a series of wars in the 1990s, Africanews wrote.

At around the same time,, an Indian English-language news outlet, reported that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni brought a “personal armored toilet” to Kenya when he attended the inauguration of newly-elected Kenyan President William Ruto.

The disconnect between Museveni’s concerns and the troubles facing his country is a feature of life in Uganda today.

In charge of Uganda since 1986, Museveni, 78, controls a vast network of so-called ‘district commissioners’ who help him keep an iron grip on power through “patronage, information-gathering and executive control,” explained Al Jazeera. While the country technically became a multi-party democracy in 2005, observers believe Museveni is the one who will decide whether he will seek reelection in 2026 or pave the way for someone else to take his place.

Rather than finding a statesperson who might know how to tackle Ebola or shore up the country’s shaky finances, Museveni appears to be considering his son, Ugandan army Lieutenant General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, as the best person in the nation of nearly 46 million people to succeed him. Kainerugaba recently retired from the military, Reuters noted, a move that political commentators took to mean that he was preparing to run for the presidency in four years when his father’s term is up.

In May, the president’s son posted an unscientific survey question on Twitter: “All those who want me to stand in 2026 retweet, all those who don’t like.” The tweet received fewer than 4,000 retweets and more than 13,000 likes. He’s also been making the diplomatic rounds over the years and meeting major players in the region, from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi to South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Africa Report added.

Dynasties usually signal business as usual. Uganda might need more than that.

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