By James Odongo
KUMI - The Ugandan soldier who lowered the Union Jack (British) flag and hoisted the national flag when Uganda attained independence on October 9, 1962 has been admitted at Atutur Hospital in Kumi district with hernia.
Speaking from his hospital bed this week, Maj. John Kanuti Akorimo, 83, said this is the third time he is being hospitalized over the same ailment.
The veteran said he underwent surgery at Mulago Hospital in the early 1980s in an effort to cure the disease, adding that he was recently taken to Cure Hospital in Mbale over the same health condition.
“After I was discharged from Cure Hospital, I returned to my home in Omatenga in Kumi, but later began feeling unwell again. So, I called the Kumi district health officer, Dr. John Opolot, to come and find out what was wrong,” he said.
Dr. Opolot recommended that Akorimo be admitted at Atutur Hospital, where he was scheduled for an operation today (Friday).
Akorimo talks to New Vision at his home in Omatonga-Kumi district on October 13, 1999
According to the doctor, Akorimo’s operation had to be delayed because they had to treat an infection that he had picked up.
Born in Omatenga village, Kumi district where he still lives, Akorimo hoisted the national flag at the age of 32, and was at the time a lieutenant in the army.
He pursued a commercial course in Nairobi, before joining the army. He underwent training in England, where he was the only Ugandan.
He retired in 1967 at the rank of major.
Significantly, he helped form Uganda’s national army under President Milton Obote and decades later, he was awarded a hero’s medal in 2003.
Akolimo poses with a ceremonial parade sword which he acquired at the time he was given a warrant of short service in the King's Rifles in 1962
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Soldier who hoisted Ugandan flag in 1962 taken ill