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Thousands attend Gen Aronda’s prayers

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Tens of thousands have today thronged the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds for prayers held in tribute to the late General Robert Aronda Nyakairima who died of acute heart failure last Saturday as he returned from a working visit to South Korea.

The prayers led by the Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali were attended by President Yoweri Museveni, the widow and relatives, several senior army officers including service commanders from armies in the region, staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and people from other walks of life.

Gen Aronda's widowed wife, Linda Kahoza eulogising her husband.
Gen Aronda’s widowed wife, Linda Kahoza eulogising her husband.

The chief mourner President Yoweri Museveni said he was annoyed that Aronda died of a medical condition which was poorly handled.

“Actually Aronda complained of dizziness. He said ‘I am feeling dizzy’. That was in South Korea before entering the plane,” Museveni said before calling up the government officials who travelled with Aronda to South Korea’s capital Seoul before the latter’s death last Saturday.

The President explained that he investigated Aronda’s death and interviewed the officials in the Minister’s entourage to South Korea because “I never leave anything to chance.”

Museveni then narrated: “Aronda said ‘I am feeling dizzy’. They tried to go to the hospital but South Koreans said that they cannot allow someone to go to the hospital without insurance.”

“That’s nonsense. Surely, they must have emergencies. They must have treated him and see whether he will not pay,” a peeved Museveni said. The President further said there was “a gap of medical checkup. Even when we did the post mortem he had had previous heart attacks – small ones.”

“The body is carbon paper. Whatever happens will be recorded. He had two heart attacks before. This one was very big he couldn’t survive.”

“Apparently, they had not told me and he had not told me that he had some sort of mild hypertension for many years,” Museveni added.

On his part Archbishop Ntagali said he knew Gen Aronda as a man of integrity and God fearing with high morals. He lauded Gen Aronda for successfully spearheading the national ID project, which had previously failed to take off under his predecessors.

Other speakers at the service also extolled Gen Aronda, with the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) General Katumba Wamala describing the deceased as an exemplary officer who served his country diligently. Comforting the bereaved family, Gen Katumba Wamala, who succeeded Gen Aronda as CDF, said the deceased had left a legacy that would ensure a good future for them.

James Baba, the State Minister for Internal Affairs described Gen

Aronda as a very hardworking and dedicated man, who knew almost all his subordinate staff and the challenges or opportunities each faced.

“He took interest in almost everyone under him,” Mr Baba said.

Meanwhile, in a brief speech Gen Aronda’s widow Linda said her husband had never suffered from any ailment known to her in the past.

“This heart disease they are talking about might have been there but for the twenty years I have been with my husband, I did not know him to have such an ailment,” she said and added that the deceased ‘was always full of energy’.

She praised her late husband for being caring, loving a dedicated public servant.

Gen Aronda died at the age of 56 and is survived by the widow Linda Kahoza Nyakairima, and two children. His burial will take place on Sunday, September 20 at his ancestral home in Rukungiri.


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