RVR Unveils Plan to Strengthen Egypt, East Africa Trade Ties

One of Uganda’s finest military strategists credited for breaking the back of the deadly Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and overseeing specialized military deployments and operations in Somalia that created the foundation of stabilizing the war-torn country, what is ed search collapsed and died on Friday night in Dubai.

At a young age of 56, information pills the powerful Minister on Internal Affairs died while in transit from Dubai to Uganda.

He was returning from South Korea.

Government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo said in a tweet on Saturday morning that “Gen Aronda has died of heart attack while on transit in Dubai from South Korea.”

This means Gen Aronda was aboard the plane when he died.

This would mean that the passenger plane returned to Dubai Airport to remove his body where it is currently being examined.

Army spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda said Government is sending a team of pathologists to Dubai to do a “thorough postmortem” to establish the cause of Gen Aronda’s death.

Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda issued a statement today which departed from Opondo’s assertion that Gen Aronda succumbed to a heart attack.


Rugunda said General Aronda was returning from South Korea, on official duties, transiting through Dubai but that “The cause of his death is not yet known.”

This contradiction has sparked concerns that information related to Aronda’s death could be mismanaged which could fuel speculation and cultivate ground for conspiracy theories.

Meeting in Seoul

According to the South Korean Embassy in Uganda, Gen Aronda was this week visiting the country “for the first time upon invitation by Korea Foundation.”

On September 9, Gen Aronda, according to the Embassy, “met with his Korean counterpart, Minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs Hon. Jeong Jong-Sup.”

The Embassy further said Aronda and his host “discussed Korea’s national ID system, police and public security system among others.”

Gen Aronda meeting with South Korean officials in Seoul
Gen Aronda meeting with South Korean officials in Seoul


Aronda supervised the multi-billion national identity card system after the project was mismanaged by civil servants at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

His untimely death struck at the heart of the country’s security establishment, with many expressing their shock.

Special Forces Commander, Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba said he was “extremely saddened at the untimely passing of our long time commander and leader, General Aronda Nyakairima. RIP.”

Muhoozi’s post on Twitter was retweeted almost 300 times.

Army publicist, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda described the death as a “dark cloud.”

Born in 1959, Gen Aronda was the longest serving army commander in the country’s post-independence history, presiding over and professionalizing the nation’s force for ten years (2003-2013).

Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu served for nine years.

Gen Aronda took over from the late Maj Gen James Kazini, becoming the sixth Army Commander since Museveni took office in 1986.

The two daring army officers fought deadly battles in Northern and Western Uganda that saw the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), LRA and other rebel movements decisively defeated.


Aronda meeting with his Korean counterpart, Minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs Hon. Jeong Jong-Sup
Aronda meeting with his Korean counterpart, Minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs Hon. Jeong Jong-Sup

Maj Gen James Mugira told ChimpReports on Saturday that the deceased was a “true patriot who sacrificed all his life for his motherland.”

The former military intelligence chief, who worked closely with Gen Aronda, said the departed former army chief was “selfless” and “unassuming.”

Gen Mugira said Gen Aronda “broke the back of LRA rebellion and contributed immensely to the prevailing peace in northern Uganda.”

Mugira, now serving as head of UPDF commercial arm, NEC, further pointed out that Gen Aronda was a “Pan Africanist, intellectual, General, Officer and a Gentleman.”

Trade Minister Amelia Kyambadde described Gen Aronda’s death as a “tragedy.”

A close family friend of the late, Kyambadde posted on her official Twitter handle: “Uganda has lost its gallant General. A great man of integrity, wisdom and selflessness.”

Some of Aronda’s successes include the pacification of Karamoja with the help of departed 2nd Division Commander, Brig Patrick Kankiriho thus creating a foundation for agricultural development, economic emancipation and transformation.

Outgoing United States Ambassador, Scott H. DeLisi said Gen Aronda was a friend whose leadership would be dearly missed.

“I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of the sudden passing of Minister of Internal Affairs Gen. Aronda Nyakairima,” said Scott.

“Gen. Aronda was one of the first senior leaders I met in Uganda over three years ago. He cared deeply for his nation and its future,” he added.

Friends and relatives of the deceased are gathering at the residence of Gen Aronda in Buziga, Kampala
Friends and relatives of the deceased are gathering at the residence of Gen Aronda in Buziga, Kampala

“We shared many cups of tea and meals together as we discussed ideas and issues in a spirit of true partnership and cooperation.”

Scott further revealed that, “Even when we had different perspectives, the friendship and values we shared allowed us to move forward constructively. He will be missed as a leader, and as a friend.”

Presidency Minister Frank Tumwebaze said Gen Aronda’s death was “painful, sad and annoying”.

He added: “God, Why Gen Aronda? May the almighty God stand with his dear family at this point of trial. Why, why, why?”

Uganda’s Ambassador to Rwanda, Richard Kabonero said Gen Aronda’s death was a “tremendous loss of a patriot and freedom fighter.”

Who is Gen Aronda?

Aronda attended Kitgum High School in Kitgum District.

He joined Makerere University in 1978, graduating in 1981, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in political science.

He attended the Basic Officers Course in 1989, after the NRA had captured power in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city.

Aronda later attended a course in Strategic Studies at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, USA.

He also has further military qualifications from the Egyptian Military Academy in Cairo.

Military career

He joined the National Resistance Army in 1982, soon after leaving Makerere.

After the NRA captured power, he worked as an intelligence officer in the Ugandan military.

He later was appointed Assistant Director in the Directorate of Military Intelligence in the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF).

He was then transferred to the Presidential Protection Unit as an Intelligence Officer.

From there, he served as the Commanding Officer of the Armored Brigade before his appointment as Commander of the UPDF in 2003.

He has represented the UPDF in the Ugandan Parliament since 1996.

In October 2010, General Aronda was inducted into the International Hall of Fame at the Lewis and Clark Centre at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, United States of America, for attaining the highest position in the military of his country.

Nyakairima, a 1993 graduate of Fort Leavenworth, was inducted together with General Eui Don Wang of South Korea, a 1986 graduate of the command college, and Major General Richard Rhys Jones of New Zealand, a 1992 graduate.
Qalaa Holdings, order an African leader in infrastructure and industry, recently hosted an event that laid groundwork to stimulate significant improvement in bilateral trade between Egypt and East African countries.

The one-day conference themed “Rift Valley Railways: An Integrated Logistics Solution in East Africa,” highlighted the competitive advantages of using rail as the most efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly mode of transporting goods in East Africa.

Rift Valley Railways (RVR) is as a unique door-to-door transportation and customs-clearance service provider that can help local exporters from Egypt, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan tap into new markets and grow the volume of intra-regional trade.

Karim Sadek, Qalaa Holdings Managing Director and Head of Transportation and Logistics, and Andreas Heinel, RVR Chief Marketing Officer, presented the RVR’s achievements as well as a snapshot of the door-to-door service that the company is now able to provide to Egyptian exporters through its subsidiary EARH (East Africa Rail and Handling).

“RVR is currently at the midpoint of a USD 287 million capital investments and turn around program that began in January 2012 to revitalize the railway,” said Sadek.

“Since the start of the renewal program, we have invested USD 126 million in modern rail operating technology, rebuilding infrastructure, expanding haulage capacity and developing modern rail operating skills in RVR’s 2,000 strong workforce. Today we are seeing improved safety and reliability, increased capacity and a significant improvement in the overall efficiency of the operation,” he added.

Sadek also announced that RVR has recently purchased 500 flat wagons from CNR, the largest producer of rolling stock in China, the first batch (120 wagons) of which is due to arrive at the end of September.

“These new heavy-duty wagons are a real game-changer for us. It means that we can carry much heavier goods, increase security and become more efficient in loading and offloading, all of which will make a positive contribution to your bottom line and ours,” said Heinel. “Making use of rail is commercially advantageous for us all.This is the first of many engagements that we want to have with Egypt. We see huge potential,and while there are still challenges, we believe that we are on the right track.”

Arthur Katsigazi, head of the Diplomatic Mission for the Embassy of Uganda during the meeting stressed the importance of intra-regional trade and thanked Qalaa Holdings for the “USD 300 million that it has already injected into the rehabilitation of Rift Valley Railways.”

“We all stand to benefit from an improved system of rail transport. Goods and services can be delivered faster and at a lower cost and are thus more affordable to consumers. Railway connectivity will spur integration within the East African community by quickening the movement of people, goods and services within the region,” Katsigazi said.

Joff Otieno, the Kenyan Ambassador to Egypt revealed that undeniably, infrastructure and logistics services are the backbone of commerce, enabling traders, manufacturers and agricultural producers to flourish and increase productivity.

“This even provides an opportunity for interaction between us and the business community in Egypt with a view to exploring ways of broadening and deepening trade and investment between our two regions and presenting Kenya as the hub of trade and investment and the entry point to Eastern Africa,’ he added.

RVR is Qalaa Holdings’ primary investment in the African transportation sector, with a 25-year concession to operate 2,352 km of track linking the Indian Ocean Port of Mombasa to the interiors of Kenya, the Ugandan capital Kampala and the northern part of Uganda.

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