KAMPALA – The deputy commander of the UPDF Reserve Forces, Maj Gen Stephen Tumusiime Rwabantu is dead.
Brig Flavia Byekwaso, the Defence spokesperson said that he passed away on Saturday night at Kampala Hospital where he had been admitted.
“The Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs and the entire UPDF fraternity condole with the family, relatives and friends of the deceased during this difficult moment, “ Byekwaso said on Sunday.
Former Security Minister, Lt Gen (rtd) Henry Tumukunde hailed the deceased as a “true gentleman”.
“I have learnt with great sorrow of the passing of Gen. Stephen T. Rwabantu ‘Gonya’ (RO/0081), a war hero and comrade for many years. He was always understanding and a true gentleman. He will be missed. My heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and the UPDF fraternity,” Tumukunde tweeted on Sunday morning.
In 2018, shortly after being promoted to the rank of Major General, Rwabantu boasted that he has been with President Museveni for close to 40 years and warned that anyone who wishes to joke with the peace ushered in by the NRA should think twice.
“Those who want to disturb our peace should think twice. Some of us are causalities of the bush war and we cannot allow such to return. If you want to disturb our peace, the ‘Goonya’ will come out,” Rwabantu, who was nicknamed Goonya (crocodile) said during a decoration function at the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Mbuya.
“If anybody wants to destabilise (should know) this country did not have this peace on a silver plate, we lost our people in the bush around Luweero. Some of us are casualties, but here we are. So we are warning those who are running around and think they will disturb us, they should think twice.”
Rwabantu joined the bush war in 1981 after defecting from the UNLA barracks in Bugoloobi.
He was smuggled into the bush together with a group of fellow other defectors by now Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza and after the bush war, he has promoted to various ranks and in 2018, he was elevated to Major General.
The UPDF, however, noted that burial arrangements would be communicated soon.