UPDF Chief Political Commissar, Col Felix Kulaigye, has dismissed versions of Gen Aronda Nyakairima death as presented by his widow, Linda Aronda, and Brig Kasirye Gwanga.
Kulaigye was last evening paying tribute to the former army commander at the Pan-African Pyramid, a political debate held every Friday at Fairway hotel and moderated by Andrew Irumba, an aide to Tooro Prince, David Kijanangoma.
Aronda’s widow while speaking at the Kololo memorial yesterday said for 19 years, she had never seen her husband sick calling upon her two children to bear witness.
She said Aronda had no heart problems contrary to President Yoweri Museveni’s assertion that Aronda had two mild attacks and the third one overpowered him, killing him afterwards.
The president even blamed South Korea for refusing to treat Aronda on account that he had no medical insurance.
When asked about the matter, Kulaigye said: “Aronda’s wife can say that but as soldiers, there are many things our wives don’t know about us.”
Asked to respond to comments made by UPDF Brigadier, Kasirye Gwanga, Kulaigye said “He [Kasirye doesn’t speak for us”.
Kasirye told NBS TV that his friend Aronda had been murdered by mafias at the Internal Affairs ministry and that the army would have its revenge.
Kulaigye accepted that Aronda had challenges at the ministry but had no information regarding his alleged murder.
“Because of his work method, he never impressed everyone. But I have no information in that regard because the post-mortem report says he died of heart failure,” Kulaigye said, adding, “Kasirye is not our army commander. Those are his words.”
Kulaigye described Aronda as a patriot, pan-Africanist and accomplished soldier.
He said the late did not live a luxurious life, had no Facebook or Twitter accounts and was always in office working.
“He was a performer and inspite of all his achievements, he never bragged about them.”
He said Aronda accepted everyone despite their political backgrounds and would be seen laughing and shaking hands with opposition politicians.
The commissar said Aronda never arrested anyone during his tenure as army commander.
“He found UPDF naked, demoralised, soldiers lacking salaries, desertions at the apex but turned it around.”
He hailed Aronda for having motivated the army to chase Lord’s Resistance Army [LRA] warlord, Jospeh Kony, out of Northern Uganda, South Sudan, Congo to Central African Republic.
Kulaigye further praised the late for pushing the army into agricultural production in a bid to improve soldiers’ welfare.
He is the brain behind Wazalendo, a SACCO for UPDF soldiers and made sure there was accountability for everything he did.
Kulaigye said that because of being gender sensitive, Aronda’s tenure saw many female officers rise in ranks making UPDF an efficient, accountable and professional army.
“To him no task was impossible. No wonder he was a leader in DRC, Rwanda, Central African Republic and Somalia.”
Kulaigye said Aronda was a career best man to Rwanda President, Paul Kagame, Police chief, Kale Kayihura, and Maj Gen Benon Biraaro.
“He did not leave a trail but a huge path like that made by 100 elephants.”