PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has hailed the first post-independence army commander, Brig. Gen. Shaban Opolot, for disobeying a wrongful order to arrest the first President of Uganda and Kabaka of Buganda, Sir Edward Mutesa.
Opolot acted in defence of the Constitution and Uganda. He said his refusal led to his detention for five years.
â€œToday all of you are gathered here to see a man whose advice would have helped Obote to stop the haemorrhage that this country has gone through,â€ Museveni said in a message delivered by the state minister for health, Capt. Mike Mukula. Museveni also offered sh10m for burial expenses.
Museveni said Uganda would not have suffered if Obote had accepted Opolotâ€™s advise not to attack the lubiri (palace) in 1966.
The 36-gun bursts rocked Kireka village and the UPDF flag flew at half-mast during the three hour procession. The Bishop of Mbale Diocese, Samwiri Wabulakha, assisted by Nakaloke sub-parish clergy, led prayers.
Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Joshua Masaba, the chief of training and operations Brig. Andrew Guti, 1st Division commander and the chief political commissar, Brig. Kale Kaihura, attended the ceremony.
Mukula appealed to the army to remain committed to the Constitution.
He said it was important for Ugandans to appreciate the role played by some people in restoring political sanity and constitutional order after Oboteâ€™s mess.
He said Opolot was the first army commander to give his life in defence of the Constitution.
Army commander Lt. Gen. Aronda Nyakairima in a message said Opolot offered himself to be dismissed from the army instead of betraying the profession.
Born in 1924, Opolot joined the army in 1945. He rose from a corporal after attending courses in Kenya and the UK.
He became the first African Uganda army commander in 1964.
Opolot refused to arrest Kabaka