The government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo has confirmed that Col. Rtd Shaban Bantariza who breathed his last earlier today, died of Covid-19.
The deputy government spokesman died at Mulago national referral hospital where he was admitted over hypertension. Remarking at Mulago hospital, Opondo said his deputy has always been complaining of chest pain, low blood pressure and cough.
“Col. Rtd Shaban was admitted on Friday at Mbuya military hospital, from where he was taken to Victoria clinic before being transferred to Mulago after they had suspected he could have contracted COVID 19,” Opondo said.
Opondo said upon testing at Mulago and medical verification, it was confirmed that the deceased had contracted COVID-19, “it is indeed sad news that Shaban” he added
Batanzira was born in Mitooma District in Uganda’s Western Region, circa 1963. He attended St. Leo’s College, Kyegobe, in Fort Portal, Kabarole District for his O-Level studies. He then joined the Catholic brotherhood, where he trained as an elementary school teacher.
While pursuing a course at Makerere University in 1985, he abandoned his studies and joined the National Resistance Army, led by Yoweri Museveni. He attended guerrilla bootcamp in the Kabarore area, in foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains. He also attended and graduated from the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College, having studied the senior command course offered annually at the college.
Bantariza served as the UPDF spokesperson from 2000 to 2002 and from 2003 to 2006. For a period of time, prior to February 2009, Batanzira, at the rank of lieutenant colonel, served as the commander of the Oliver Tambo Leadership School in Kaweweta, Nakaseke District. On 26 February 2009, he was appointed commandant of the National Leadership Institute (NALI), in Kyankwanzi, Kyankwanzi District. He served in that capacity until he was relieved of his duties on 7 October 2011.
In June 2013, he was appointed as Deputy Executive Director of the National Media Centre. On 2nd July 2013, at the rank of colonel, he was arrested, charged with embezzlement and remanded to Makindye Military prison by the General Court Martial on charges of alleged fraud. After proceedings that lasted nearly three years, the Court Martial, chaired by Major General Levi Karuhanga, acquitted Colonel Bantariza due to lack of evidence against him, on 14 April 2015.
On 24 June 2015, following his acquittal by the general court martial, he resumed work at the Uganda Media Centre, the president of Uganda having directed in writing that Bantariza resumes work.