General Aronda Nyakairima died of an acute heart failure due to extensive and irreversible blockade of the heart blood vessels, a post-mortem report has shown.
KAMPALA - General Aronda Nyakairima died of an acute heart failure due to extensive and irreversible blockade of the heart blood vessels, a post-mortem report has shown.
“Red eyes, enlarged heart, damaged heart muscles, heart vessels affected by excessive fat. Lungs were also enlarged. Cause of heart failure was excessive fat. Fat was found both in and out of vessels,” findings by Mulago Hospital pathologists indicated.
The deputy executive director Uganda Media Center, Col. Shaban Bantariza read the report on behalf of the Prime Minister on Thursday at the Uganda Media Center.
Bantariza was flanked by a team of Uganda Pathologists from Mulago hospital led by ministry of health Permanent Secretary Asuman Lukwago.
He explained that the examination was not done in Dubai because of the lengthy clearance processes. “No post-mortem was done in Dubai because the pathologists would have to be registered practitioners in Dubai,” he said.
Earlier, the body of Aronda was taken to Parliament in the morning for viewing.
A special plenary session later would pay tribute to the General who died last Saturday. Prime Minister Dr. Rugunda will give the postmortem report at Media Centre in Kampala.
The former Chief of Defence Forces' body arrived in Uganda from Dubai on Wednesday.
His flag-draped coffin was wheeled into the parliament for lawmakers to pay tribute to one of their own -- Aronda has represented the UPDF in Parliament.
Hardly six months ago, on March 31, Minister Aronda was in this same parliament where he eulogized slain prosecutor Joan Kigezi.
On Friday, a funeral service will be held at Kololo Independence grounds and the general will be laid to rest on Sunday in Rukungiri district.
Aronda, who served longest as commander of the army, died aboard a flight from South Korea through Dubai to Uganda.
On Wednesday, after a long wait by anxious family members, relatives and comrades from the UPDF, an Emirates Airbus A320 carrying the remains of the minister finally touched down at Entebbe International Airport at about 1.30pm (EAT) local time.
The plane descended to an awaiting UPDF brass band lined up ready to blow military trumpets for the fallen soldier.
Cabinent ministers, senior army officers and the bereaved family (Aronda's wife Lindah and their children Samantha and Samuel) and other relatives waited in a nearby tent.
Silence enveloped the airport as a team of pallbearers, led by Lt. Gen. Ivana Koreta (former deputy army commander), approached the plane to receive the casket, wrapped in the Ugandan flag. The coffin was gently trolled unto a roller and lowered to awaiting mourners.
As the pallbearers silently marched through the chain of the military parade, Aronda's wife picked up emotional courage to approach the casket bearing her husband's body. With a few relatives attempting to support her, she was overcome by emotion as she placed her hands on the coffin.
She later joined her family on the touchline where they watched in grief as the army brass band, neatly dressed in red ceremonial uniform, played the three stanzas of the national anthem and the East African anthem.
Some of the mourners couldn't hold back tears as the band played the UPDF's favorite Ushindi ni lazima (Victory is a must), a Kiswahili tune which reminisces the days of the NRA's armed struggle which Gen. Aronda joined in 1982 after his university.
After the brief ceremonies, the illustrious general's body was carted into a Uganda Funeral Service van en-route to Mulago Hospital.
Meanwhile, a team of Uganda pathologists have embarked on what military sources say is an extensive examination of the body of the minister.
The autopsy process that started Wednesday at Mulago Hospital city mortuary is expected to come out with a conclusive report on what caused the death of the former army commander.
"Thorough post-mortem procedure is going to be conducted in Uganda," said Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda, the UPDF spokesperson, who added that the team at Mulago includes senior pathologist Dr. Sylvestere Onzivua and Dr. Moses Byarugaba.
The two experts over the weekend traveled to Dubai with Dr. James Makumbi, the UPDF chief of medical services, to start the autopsy process and supervise the repatriation of the body.
UPDF generals leaving Kampala City mortuary after delivering Gen. Aronda's body. (Credit: Peter Busomoke)
Apart from the towering achievement of making the national identity project a successful story, Gen. Aronda performed performed exceptionally well during his tenure as army commander.
Here, the major highlights were the Operation Lightning Thunder that flushed out Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army rebels from Uganda and later Garamba forest between 2008-2009.
Under Aronda’s reign, the Karamoja disarmament process also registered success. Aronda has also been credited by President Yoweri Museveni with helping in shaping the transformation of the army.
(Additional reporting by David Lumu, Vivian Agaba & Michael Odeng)
Gen. Aronda’s body viewed in parliament