Gen Aronda Nyakairima, the Internal Affairs Minister is dead. According to Pamela Ankunda, the Internal Affairs Ministry spokesperson says Aronda died last night aboard a flight from South Korea to Uganda.
“I can confirm that General Aronda died aboard a flight from South Korea”, Ankunda said on phone this morning. According to a tweet from Ofwono Opondo, the Executive Director of the Government owned Uganda Media Center, the minister died of heart attack in Dubai while on transit from South Korea.
Uganda Peoples Defence Forces is to send a team of pathologists to Dubai to do a post-mortem report on the death of the General, the army spokesperson Col Paddy Ankunda has said.
Aronda died this morning aboard an Emirates flight heading into Dubai from South Korea. His body, according to the ministry of Internal affairs is currently at the Dubai hospital undergoing a post-mortem. Ankunda in a phone interview said that the army had resolved to send a team of pathologists to carry out an independent post mortem on the body.
He adds that the names of the doctors who are part of the team will be divulged to the media after a meeting called by Internal Affairs at Kololo Grounds is complete this afternoon. But Opondo later told NTV that Aronda “collapsed in a transit lounge and we suspect he did not get immediate medical attention”. According to Opondo, Aronda travelled to South Korea on Tuesday this week for “official duties to do with the National ID” and died on his way back to Uganda.
The cause of death has not yet been established and a statement released by the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, says that the government has constituted a team led by the Defence Minister Dr Chrispus Kiyonga to handle all matters relating to the tragic death.
The statement describes Aronda as a dedicated servant of the people of Uganda and that it was with great sadness that the news of his death was received. Rugunda describes the death a “tragic and huge loss to the country”.
Aronda served as the Chief of Defence Forces for 10 years, overseeing the defeat of the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Allied Democratic Front Rebels.
Condolence messages have slowly been streaming in from different dignitaries over the death of the former army chief.
The US ambassador to Uganda Scott De Lisi mourned Aronda saying he was a dedicated serviceman, whom he shared many meals and cups of coffee with. He adds that despite having different perspectives, Aronda remained a leader with shared values.
The CDF General Katumba Wamala said the army would take over the burial arrangements of the fallen general.
He graduated in 1981 and joined the National Resistance Army guerrilla force in 1982 shortly after leaving Makerere University. In 1989 General Aronda attended a basic military officer’s course three years after NRA captured power.
He worked as a military intelligence officer before he was appointed assistant director in the Directorate of Military Intelligence under Uganda People’s Defense Force-UPDF.
Aronda also worked under the Presidential Protection Unit, Commanding Officer of the Armored Brigade and represented the army in parliament from 1996 until his death.