Pepsi Unveils Independence Day Golf Tournament

(L-R) Jeff Ssekandi- Customer Marketing Manager at Crown Beverages Limited and Douglas Mazune- PRO of Mukwano Group of industries address the press at the launch of the 2015 Pepsi Independence Day Golf Tournament at Sheraton Hotel

By Maj. Chris Magezi

In the early hours of Saturday, price 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.

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.

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
120 golfers are set to battle it out on the Palm Valley Kakungulu Golf club for the winning title of the 2015 Pepsi Independence Day Golf Tournament.

Speaking at the launch ceremony held at Silver Springs Bugolobi on Tuesday, this Jeff Ssekandi- Customer Marketing Manager at Crown Beverages Limited, said that Pepsi has injected over shs150 million in this year’s tournament up from the to boost the sport.

“The shs150 million that Pepsi has invested in this year’s tournament will go towards course preparation, publicity, refreshments, prizes and player kits, among other logistics to ensure that the players enjoy every moment that they will spend on the course,” he said.

Of the 120 registered participants, the ratio of men to women stands at 80:20, an indication of the opportunities sports women have in this particular sport.

“Golf is often referred to as a men’s sport but we have seen women that have constantly excelled at the sport. For instance our very own Flavia Namakula and Tanzania’s Angel Eaton and this is proof that women are equally built for the sport,” added Ssekandi.

“As Pepsi, we have taken it upon ourselves to promote the sport not just on a national and regional level but also amongst the women through training sponsorships like the one we had last year in partnership with Amarant Bakker organisation in Europe and we will continue to seek out more of these opportunities for the ladies to reduce the ratio gap,” he added.

Davis Kashaka who took home the 2014 Pepsi Independence Day Golf Tournament overall winner’s award with 34 stable Ford points is set to prove his prowess once again at the Palm Valley Kakungulu Golf Club come October 9.

Sitting on an expanse of 120 acres of land, Palm Valley Kakungulu is an 18-holes championship course, one of the very best in East Africa. So far, nine holes are complete and playable.

The course was carefully designed with the expertise of Allan Fredrickson, a renowned designer of championship courses in the UK and USA with the aim of making the golfer’s experience worthwhile.

Sheraton Uganda, Uganda Breweries Limited and ICEA are co-sponsors for this year’s tournament.

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