Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has named his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba Senior Presidential Advisor for Special Operations.
Kainerugaba, 42, who was Special Forces Commander, was appointed on Monday night.
His deputy Don Nabaasa was promoted to Colonel and appointed acting Commander of the Special Forces Command.
He will now be in charge of the president’s security and other sensitive installations in the country Museveni has ruled since 1986.
Museveni, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, won a new five-year term in elections last year that the opposition said were rigged. He denies the charge.
Analysts have said Kainerugaba’s appointment is part of a plan to groom him to take over the top job.
Political rivals have regularly accused the 72-year-old President of handing powerful positions to members of his family and adopting an increasingly autocratic style – charges his supporters dismiss.
His brother, Salim Saleh, is another presidential adviser and his wife, Janet Museveni, is minister of education.
“Muhoozi … is going to play a significant role in a post-Museveni Uganda, there’s no doubt about it,” said political commentator and rights activist Nicholas Opiyo.
“He is just giving the boy a hand in experiencing how government works on the side of politics.”
Human rights lawyer and political commentator Andrew Karamagi described the appointment as a “real clear move to bring the man closer to succession”.
Kainerugaba has risen quickly through the ranks since he joined the army in 1998. He jumped two positions from 2nd Lieutenant to Major in 2001.
Asked whether it was a move to boost Kainerugaba’s political credentials, Military spokesman Paddy Ankunda told Reuters: “No, this is just a normal change in command.”
Ugandan media reported on Tuesday that Museveni also fired top military officials including Chief of Defence Forces Katumba Wamala.
Wamala was appointed Minister of State for Works and was replaced by Major General David Muhoozi, now a full General.
Muhoozi, who had been commanding the Land Forces, will be deputised by Major General Wilson Mbadi, who had been Army Chief of Staff.
Deputy CDF Charles Angina took over as Deputy Commander Operation Wealth Creation, in what has been seen as a demotion.
Brigadier Peter Elweru moved from Mbarara where he had been serving as 2nd Division commander to take charge of the Land Forces.
Elweru commanded the operation that saw UPDF Commandos raid Rwenzururu palace and capture King Wesley Mumbere.
Brigadier Sam Okiding, who had been commanding UPDF in Somalia, was promoted to Major General and Commander of the Field Artillery Division.
Chief of Military Intelligence Brigadier Charles Bakahumura was transferred and appointed Chief of Logistics and Engineering.
Brigadier Gavas Mugyenyi was promoted to Major General and appointed Commander Air Defence.
Lieutenant Colonel Abel Kandiho was promoted to Colonel and appointed CMI boss.