The anticipated MK Movement Baraza scheduled for Friday, January 12, 2023, in Mitooma district, western Uganda, has been postponed, raising questions about the reasons behind the decision. The MK Movement, a volunteer organization rallying support for Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s potential 2026 presidential bid, cited consultations with their Guest of Honour, Rt. Hon. Thomas Tayebwa, as the basis for the rescheduling. A new date and venue are yet to be communicated.
The Movement’s spokesperson, David Kabanda, expressed gratitude to supporters while revealing that the decision to postpone was influenced by resistance from Internal Affairs Minister Kahinda Otafiire, a key ally of the current president and a vocal opponent of Muhoozi’s presidential ambitions.
Otafiire’s opposition was publicly voiced through his supporters, including an NRM youth group in Mitooma, who held a press conference denouncing the planned Baraza in the area. The minister’s backers asserted that the event would not bring value to the district, emphasizing their refusal to allow Mitooma to be used by the MK group.
In response to the resistance, MK Movement leaders sought intervention from President Museveni, asserting that the Baraza had received clearance from the President himself. Kabanda dismissed what he referred to as “sponsored propaganda” on Otafiire’s radio, accusing it of promoting genocide and anarchy.
The decision to postpone the event was based on the desire to prevent potential confrontations between supporters of Otafiire and Muhoozi. Otafiire, as the Internal Affairs Minister, holds authority over the police.
Gen. Muhoozi has been conducting Barazas across the country, providing a platform to address people’s challenges and propose solutions. Notably, in Northern Uganda, Muhoozi responded to complaints of repeated attacks by cattle rustlers by ordering increased deployment of security personnel in the affected area.
Otafiire, aged 73, represents the core of the old NRA guard that played a pivotal role in bringing President Museveni to power in 1986. Insiders suggest that this group perceives Gen Muhoozi’s rise as a threat, fearing potential removal from their positions in a government restructuring exercise. Efforts to reconcile Gen Muhoozi and Otafiire by Gen Salim Saleh last year proved unsuccessful, with Otafiire continuing to publicly criticize Muhoozi.