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President's son says Uganda not a monarchy after succession row

TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2013 7:18 AM GMT

KAMPALA (Reuters) - The son of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said he would not inherit power like a monarch, after a general accused Uganda's veteran leader of grooming his son to take over.

But son Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who commands an elite military unit, did not rule out standing for election for the post in the future in comments published by his spokesman on Facebook.

Speculation has been growing that Museveni, in office since 1986 and one of Africa's longest serving leaders, is lining up his son to take power at the end of his term in 2016, although some say that, aged 68, the president could continue for years.

The issue, often a subject of private discussion, erupted into a public debate last month when a newspaper published a confidential letter by General David Sejusa referring to a plot to kill those opposing a plan to hand power from father to son.

Now in London, Sejusa accused Museveni of creating a "political monarchy" in a BBC interview.

"He says that he has not declared that he wants to stand for presidency," spokesman to Kainerugaba, Edison Kwesiga, wrote on Facebook. "He says that Uganda is not a monarchy where leadership is passed on from father to son."

"However, he is a Ugandan who qualifies to stand for any elective position of his choice. This would require him to retire from the army, offer himself to the electorate who would either vote him in or choose not to," the spokesman added.

Museveni won international accolades during his early years in office for stabilising the nation and introducing a raft of economic measures that delivered strong growth.

Critics say he has turned into the kind of African strongman many hoped he had replaced and was cracking down on dissent.

In what critics said was part of another move to silence them, opposition leader Kizza Besigye, repeatedly detained in recent years, was briefly arrested on Thursday over accusations he had held an unsanctioned a rally, a charge an aide denied.

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