News reaching our desk this morning confirms that the Deputy Executive Director of the Uganda Media Centre Colonel Shaban Bantariza has breathed his last at Mulago National Referral Hospital.
“The UPDF family with great sadness have learned of the passing on of the deputy Executive director of Uganda Media Centre and deputy government spokesman Rtd Col Shaban Bantariza at Mulago national referral hospital. May his soul rest in peace,” the UPDF spokesperson Brig Gen. Flavia Byekwaso sent out a tweet confirming the sad news.
The retired colonel was reportedly admitted to the Intensive Care Unit on Sunday before passing on Tuesday morning
Following the confirmation, Ugandans have taken to social media to pay tribute and react to the news that is surely a huge blow to plot 36 Nile Avenue where the retired bush war hero has been deputizing government spokesperson Mr. Ofwono Opondo who confirmed that the maverick soldier succumbed to COVID19, a disease caused by the coronavirus.
Early Life and Career
Born in Mitooma District in 1963, Bantariza attended the historical St. Leo’s College, Kyegobe in Fort Portal for his O-level studies before joining the catholic brotherhood to train as an elementary school teacher. This path led him to the prestigious Makerere University where he abandoned his studies to join the Yoweri Museveni led National Resistance Army in 1985. After the NRA’s guerrilla war success in 1986, Bantariza served as as the UPDF spokesperson from 2000 to 2002 and from 2003 to 2006 before taking on the matle as the commander of the Oliver Tambo Leadership School, in Kaweweta, Nakaseke District at the rank of Lt. Col. until February 2009. He then served as commandant of the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi until October 2011. In June 2013, Bantariza was appointed as Deputy Executive Director of the National Media Centre, a position he served deligently amidst lots of criticism from the opposition.
The bush war hero, like most of his colleagues, lived a life of various controversies. One of these was on July 2, 2013 when he was arrested, charged with embezzlement and remanded o Makindye Military Prison by the General Court Martial on charges of alleged fraud. The Major General Levi Karuhanga chaired Court Martial acquitted him due to lack of evidence against him on April 2015.
May his soul rest in peace.