Inside The Rise of Gen Aronda Nyakairima

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda has made a moving tribute of Gen Aronda Nyakairima, ambulance there tracing the rise of the former Chief of Defence Forces to his early days in the NRA struggle.

Aronda’s star continued to shine even after the war that saw President Museveni seize power in 1986 before winning international accolades for his stunning achievements.

Below is Rugunda’s justification of the motion read before Parliament on September 17.

Rt. Hon. Speaker and Hon Colleagues, click we are gathered here today to honor, this celebrate and  pay tribute to a fallen gallant son of Uganda, the Honourable General Aronda Nyakairima, who has been our Minister of Internal Affairs.

On Saturday morning the 12th September 2015, Government received the sad news of the tragic demise of our Colleague.

He died aboard an Emirates flight from Seoul, South Korea to Dubai.

He was returning home from official duties in South Korea and was due to arrive in Uganda on Saturday afternoon.

Rt. Hon. Speaker, remembering and paying tribute to our colleague is imperative because it enables us to pause and reflect and acknowledge the outstanding, exceptional contributions made by this son of our nation in the short span of his life.


It also enables us to take cognizance of his example for the present and future generations.

The Service and achievements of General Aronda should not only be publicly known but also collectively celebrated and emulated in our nation Uganda.


Rt. Hon. Speaker and Hon. Colleagues, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima was born on the 7th July 1959 to Mr. Yeremiya Nyakairima  and Mrs. Gladys Nyakairima  in Nyakiju village, Bugyera Parish, Buyanja Sub-county in present day Rukungiri District.

He attended Katojo Primary School in Rukungiri, Lubiri Secondary School for ‘O’ level  and then joined Kitgum High school, where he sat for his ‘A’ level in 1976.

He graduated from Makerere University, Kampala with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) Degree in Political Science in 1981.

In later years, he undertook other studies.

He did Command and General Staff Course at the Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, USA and Senior Strategic Leadership course at Nasser High Military Academy, Cairo – Egypt.


Rt. Hon. Speaker, and Hon. Colleagues, in February 1982, a younger Aronda responded to a call of duty to join the National Resistance Army where he fought in the struggle that liberated Uganda in 1986.

Within the provisional NRA ranks he was appointed Junior Officer, Class II, till the capture of power in 1986.

By the fall of Kampala, he was an Intelligence Officer for the 3rd Battalion, which was one of the Battalions that fought the last battle for Kampala.

In the same year he was appointed intelligence Officer for the General Army Headquarters.

When formal NRA ranks were introduced in 1988, Aronda was commissioned to the rank of Captain and appointed Assistant Director of Military Intelligence.

In 1989, he was appointed intelligence Officer of the Presidential Protection Unit (PPU).

Between 1994 and 1995, Gen. Aronda served as one of the NRA representatives in the Constituent Assembly (C.A), thus, contributing to the making of the 1995 Constitution which is the supreme law of this nation

In 1995, Aronda was promoted to the rank of Major and later on elevated to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1996 and to the rank of Colonel in 1998.

In 2001, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier and appointed overall operations Commander, Operation Iron Fist.

Rt. Hon. Speaker, under Operation Iron Fist, Hon. Aronda, commanded our gallant UPDF soldiers and routed the LRA from Uganda and Southern Sudan.

The LRA fled to Garamba in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Members may recall that Gen. Aronda once remarked that “Kony did not relocate into Garamba for tourism, but was forced to Garamba on the onslaught of the UPDF”.

Thus, the contribution of this gallant son of Uganda to the Peace that is now prevailing in the greater northern Uganda and indeed in the whole country is by no means a small contribution.

Rt. Hon. Speaker, in 2003, Aronda was promoted to the rank of Major General and appointed Army Commander of the UPDF.

In 2004 due to his hard work and good leadership, he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General.

In the same year, he became a Member of Parliament representing the UPDF.


Rt. Hon. Speaker, in November 2005, with the restructuring and professionalization of the UPDF, Hon. Aronda was promoted to the rank of a four star General and appointed the first Chief of Defence Forces (CDF).

He immediately embarked on the task of restructuring the UPDF to march the dynamics of a modern army.

Gen. Aronda’s distinguished service to the Army and the country, saw him decorated with the following Honors:

  • Luwero Triangle Liberation Medal;
  • Nalubaale Liberation Medal;
  • Order of the Spear awarded by Lubiri Secondary School for being the light of the school (2006).
  • African Union Medal towards contributing to the Regional Peace and Security.
  • USA Medal for Induction to the International Hall of Fame, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (2011).
  • Award of recognition on contribution to environmental protection of the Uganda National Environmental Authority (NEMA).
  • European Union Medal on Common Security & Defence Policy (2011).
  • Order of distinguished exemplary service of the Uganda Police Force.


Rt. Hon. Speaker, in May 2013, Hon. Gen. Aronda was appointed Minister of Internal Affairs, a position he held till his demise.  His two years in Ministry of Internal Affairs has seen our country make giant strides in a number of critical programs of national importance.

Of particular note is the successful take off and implementation of the National Identification Project. Ugandans now can proudly acquire and use their National Identity Cards as an acceptable form of identification in Uganda and East African Community.

This is a significant development in our national transformation.

The others successful programs accomplished include;

  • The faster issuance of passports.
  • He had started Revamping the Immigration Department.
  • He spearheaded the legal framework against financing of terrorism.
  • He led the effort to restructure the Management and operations of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Country.

Rt. Hon. Speaker, I join you and the people of Uganda to mourn the loss of a patriot who dedicated his life to the liberation, stability, unity and development of Uganda.  I have worked with Gen. Aronda through the years since the 1986 liberation.

I have seen him rise through the ranks of the UPDF, subsequently becoming our first Chief of Defence Forces a position he held for ten years and later on as Minister of Internal Affairs since 2013.

In all interactions, I found General Aronda to be an honest, hardworking, results oriented and a dependable colleague whom one could count on at all times.  His outstanding courage, discipline, loyalty and dependability ought to be emulated by all Ugandans.

In Gen. Aronda, the country has lost a freedom fighter, Nation builder, patriot and a courageous soldier.


On 7th September 2015 Gen. Aronda and members of staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs travelled to Seoul, South Korea on Official duty. On their way back Gen. Aronda met his death aboard the Emirates flight from Seoul to Dubai on Saturday 12th September 2015.

On learning of the death of Gen. Aronda, Government immediately dispatched a team of Doctors headed by Dr. James Makumbi a senior consultant and presently serving as the Chief of Medical Services in UPDF.

They included: Dr Moses Byaruhanga, a Pathologist and Head of Police Health Services, Dr Robert Lukande, Pathologist and Senior Lecturer, Makerere University College, Health Sciences. This team was accompanied by a CID Officer and two relatives of Gen. Aronda.


Rt Hon. Speaker, the postmortem was carried out and the report was issued earlier today.

Rt Hon Speaker, according to the post mortem findings our Colleague died of a heart attack:

  • The heart was enlarged, with presence of massive bleeding within the muscle of the left ventricle, one of the heart chambers, involving the whole thickness of the muscle.
  • There were many old small areas of damaged heart muscle or scars, due to interruption of blood supply to the heart.


Rt. Hon. Speaker, I take this opportunity to convey my sincere and heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family for the loss of this gallant son.

Mrs. Linda Aronda, thank you for the tremendous support you have been to our Colleague, our brother and our friend.

Your support enabled him to make these outstanding achievements and contributions to our Country.

May you and the children Samuel Agaba Aronda and Samantha Kahunzire Aronda find peace and comfort in the knowledge that your husband and father served this country with distinction for which Uganda will always be proud of you and will always treasure his memory.

 May God rest his soul in eternal peace!

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