Gen. Aronda Nyakairima: A Dedicated Officer

Workers saving with the National Social Security Fund [NSSF] are waking up to the good news of some enhanced returns onto their savings this Financial Year.

NSSF Managing Director Richard Byarugaba announced Tuesday morning that the Fund will be paying to its members an earned interest rate of 13%.

This is a remarkable leap from the 11.5% rate that was declared by the Fund in October last year.

This new rate will be calculated and credited on the balance outstanding in the members’ accounts as at July 1st 2014.

The 13% translates into Shs 514 billion to be credited on the members’ accounts compared to Shs 366 billion paid last year; which is in effect 148 billion more.

While addressing press at Workers House in Kampala today, visit this site Mr Byarugaba attributed the Fund’s raised income this Financial Year to a favorable interest rate regime and better equity portfolio.

“For instance, price our dividends from the companies we’ve invested in, that is, Umeme, Stanbic Safaricom, New Vision and KCB Bank have increased from Shs 13 billion shillings last year to 34 billion this FY,” said Byarugaba.

“Yet we did all this without increasing our costs. Our cost-income ratio was at 13.1%; way below the target of 15 percent.”

Launching the new interest rate, Finance Minister Hon Matia Kasaija described NSSF’s performance as “tremendous” and hailed the Managing Director and staff for living up to their promises.

The Minister was also thrilled that the 13% interest is remarkably above the 8.86% 10-year average inflation rate, which implies enhanced purchasing power for the worker’s savings.

Meanwhile, MD Byarugaba revealed that NSSF has also seen improved customer satisfaction this financial year compared to the previous years.

“We did a survey and our customer satisfaction has increased from 84% to 88% and this evident especially in our delivery channels that is, branches, the website, telephone and social media.

“Our turnaround time too – time it takes for a member to be paid their benefits – has reduced from 10 days 8 years.”
By Maj. Chris Magezi

In the early hours of Saturday, nurse September 12, 2015, the country woke to the shocking news of the demise of former Chief of Defense Forces and Internal Affairs Minister, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima.

General Nyakairima, 56, was arguably one of the most accomplished, finest, and effective military officers of his generation.

It was painful to think that death had silenced him, that it had robbed us of such an illustrious military professional. He died of a heart attack or (massive cardiac failure) on an Emirates Airline flight on his way home from South Korea via Dubai.

It is noteworthy to remember that at the time of his death he was on official duty carrying on the functions of his office as Minister of Internal Affairs.

We shall not spend anytime giving credence to the nonsensical and absurd conspiracy theories of certain crack pot members of the political opposition, whose only explanation for any death of a high profile person in this country is that they were killed by government or individuals in government.

Of course, these twisted and revolting conspiracy theories serve some perverted political objective i.e. trying to convince people that the government assassinates its own.

However, all they serve to do is to unveil these characters and show them for who they are; totally depraved rumour mongers who will dance on the graves of anyone in an attempt to seize political power.

Gen Aronda chat with  Lt Gen Ivan Koreta at a function

Gen Aronda chat with Lt Gen Ivan Koreta at a function

Those of us who served with General Aronda shall remember him for the good things he achieved. There is a lot that can be said about this officer and his contribution to the peace that is being enjoyed throughout the country.

When he took command of the military in 2003, from the late Maj.General James Kazini, the LRA insurgency in the north of the country was raging. The late Kazini was renowned for his daring, audacity and fearless attitude; yet the LRA insurgency had grown in intensity and strength under his tenure.


So when President Museveni announced changes in the military’s command and appointed a relatively unknown officer to replace Kazini few people gave him any chances.

Yet in 3 years the LRA had been seriously mauled and expelled from the country (never to return) and the people of the north had began returning home from the hated IDP camps.

How did this happen? What had led to such astounding successes in such a short time? Why had Aronda succeeded where all of his predecessors had failed? That’s a long story and probably for another day but those of us who were there know the reasons for this success.

The author: Maj Chris Magezi

The author: Maj Chris Magezi

Prior to this Aronda had served as overall commander for Operation Iron Fist, a position he acceded to in February 2002.

Operation Iron Fist was a joint operation launched by the military to dislodge the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) from their bases in southern Sudan, which the rebels had used for years to launch devastating raids against unarmed civilians in northern Uganda.

The LRA as everyone knows was one of the most barbaric rural insurgent groups in human history: they killed, abducted, and displaced hundreds of thousands of our people in the north.

Operation Iron Fist succeeded in seizing the LRA’s major base areas in South Sudan but also caused the unintended consequence of pushing large formations of the rebels back into Uganda.

This caused serious disruptions in the north and led to the invasion of Lango and Teso, which had been spared the LRA plague for most of the 1990s and early 2000s. The invasions of Teso and Lango were eventually defeated (and the rebels pushed back out of these regions) by a combination of regular units (army battalions), auxiliary units (local defense units) and close air support (CAS) provided by attack helicopters.

Our own unit (then called the Presidential Guards Brigade) played a pivotal role in the defense of Soroti town and in actions throughout Teso and Lango.

There was great leadership displayed at this time by commanders such as Lt. General Andrew Gutti, Maj.General Nathan Mugisha, Brigadier Mugume Chagga, Brigadier Otema Awany, Brigadier Peter Elwelu and many other brilliant field commanders. Above all these able commanders was the clear and inspired leadership of the Commander-in-Chief, General Yoweri Museveni.

Aronda supported the works of SFC

Aronda supported the works of SFC

He would analyze every battle, call meetings, teach and lecture continuously, visit battlefields and check on the welfare of troops.

Victory would not have been possible without the energetic support of the people of Teso and Lango, who threw themselves into the war effort with everything they had.

After being appointed Army Commander Gen. Nyakairima quickly set about reorganizing the army with special emphasis on training, equipping and welfare of troops.

He also emphasized good civil-military relations, which had always been the bedrock of the NRA/UPDF’s successes. By June 2005, the LRA was permanently on the back foot, and a sizeable chunk of the leadership had been decimated.


In 2007, General Aronda was in command (as CDF) when a small force of Commandos from 1 Commando Battalion devastated an ADF column at Semiliki National Park.

They eliminated 87 out of the 100 terrorists who had tried to infiltrate the country over a period of about a week.

This defeat effectively put an end to the ADF’s campaign inside the country. Although General Aronda was not present (physically) as these operations unfolded his reforms in the military and his willingness to listen to the advice of the Commander in Chief made a contribution.

With the defeat of the LRA and the ADF, the focus started shifting to containing and disarming the Karimojong warriors (or ‘Karachunas’).

The UPDF’s campaign to break the back of the lawless cattle rustlers in Karamoja was spear headed by the late Brigadier Patrick Kankiriho.

Kankiriho is someone who is still sorely missed by all of us who knew him. He crushed the Karachunas with awesome power. We lost good commanders at this time like the late Maj. Rwashande. All these heroes will never be forgotten and should serve as an inspiration for the youth of today.

The bush war experience from 1981 – 1986 were brought to the fore during Gen. Nyakairima’s decade long command of the UPDF. A renowned workaholic, he infused in his followers the values of hard work, discipline, courage, and loyalty.

While speaking during the country’s Golden Jubilee Independence celebrations in 2012, Gen. Nyakairima observed that Uganda’s military had forever turned a new page and would never go back to the barbaric methods of past armies that had characterized the country’s turbulent political history up till 1986.

A new form of civil-military relations, in which he had actively participated in, was born, symbolized by a highly disciplined force that respected the people.

“While we were in the bush,” reminisced Gen. Nyakairima, “the questions where; that were not always correctly answered, who was the master of whom? Was it the soldier or the people?

But in the bush that was sufficiently inculcated into the soldiers that the people are the masters, and the soldiers are the servants,” he said. Under his leadership of the defense forces, these key values were re-emphasized.


Indeed, Gen. Nyakairima believed that strong ideological and political grounding was a key pillar of the UPDF which set it apart from previous armies who never understood their purpose or raison d’être (or reason for being).

“Political education has given the UPDF a mighty weapon which when brought on to the battlefield cannot be defeated. Other armies take weapons like helicopters, tanks, and engineering equipment as the most important force multipliers. Yes they are force multipliers, but the UPDF’s biggest force multiplier is its political consciousness,” said the General.

Many wonderful and great things have been said about the fallen general both from within and without, but we can again point out without any fear of contradiction that General Nyakairima was a gifted teacher and mentor.

He actively helped in the formation and development of the UPDF Special Forces, a key component of the professionalization drive of the UPDF. He very ably did his part, and the rest we shall strive to build on that we may honor his memory.

May Almighty God give eternal rest to you General- our long time commander and distinguished comrade – we will strive to always remember what you taught us.

The Writer is the Spokesman of the UPDF Special Forces

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