Lindah Aronda, the widow to the late Internal Affairs minister Gen Aronda Nyakairima has said the family has never witnessed any symptoms of heart failure in her now fallen husband.
Speaking to thousands of mourners at Kololo Independence grounds where requiem prayers were held today, Lindah said for the 19 years that she has been married, she has never seen any such symptoms of heart failure.
“This heart problem that you are talking about, OK, it may have been there but we have never seen it. My [two] children are my witnesses”, she said.
“...The 20 years we have been with my husband, I have never seen him fail to get out of bed [because he was] sick." She said they got married on April 13, 1996.
Yesterday Wednesday, government released a postmortem report that indicated that Aronda had died from "heart failure".
However President Museveni who spoke after Lindah, said he had managed to obtain medical reports that indicated that Aronda indeed had “suffered from mild hypertension for many years”
He began his speech by saying that “..point number one, am annoyed because Aronda died from a condition that either wasn't detected or if detected wasn't addressed properly”
He said, Aronda never told him about the hyper tension but he discovered from medical reports. Museveni further said that while in South Korea, Aronda had first complained of stomach pains for two days and that before boarding the plane on September 12, he also complained of dizziness.
He said the South Koreans refused to treat Aronda “because he had no medical insurance”
“That is nonsense, you first treat somebody and see if he has medical insurance or not”, he said.
The President seemed to indicate that Aronda's health may have been hampered because of being overworked because of the very high demands of the citizens. He advised his commanders to exercise regularly. Indeed, Aronda's junior minister at Internal Affair James Baba said that Aronda "worked day and night, weekends and holidays" and that there was no part in Uganda that Aronda never got it if duty called him to do so.
Even the widow, Lindah said almost as much, she said Aronda dedicated so much time to government at the expense of even himself and his family at times. She said as family it was painful at first but they learnt to live with the situation.
"I'm grateful and [I] have a lot to thank God for the gift of Aronda, our children & the people he touched", she said.
"Aronda loved his country & gave it more time than to himself. He loved to serve humanity". She also said Aronda was very knowledgeable about the affairs in his country and beyond and that never slept before watching evening TV news.
"I will look after our children, they will study and their father will be proud of them wherever he will be, she vowed.
"I know Aronda is in heaven, there is no doubt about it. What a wonderful commander God has got himself"
Earlier, Chief of Defense Forces (CDF), Gen Katumba Wamala called on his fellow soldiers to emulate the humility of Gen Aronda. He said the big turn up of civilians of civilians for the requiem prayers was a clear indication about how humble Aronda was.
"Soldiers & officers learn that humility is a virtue that we should emulate. Aronda never pushed his shoulders around. He never used words like do you know who I am?"
Katumba said Aronda cared for the welfare of fellow soldiers and that he is "the brains behind the Wazalendo Sacco - the most vibrant Sacco in the country". Wazelendo was set up after the soldiers complained of the exploitative interest rates charged by commercial banks.
Aronda's father-in-law James Kahoza said they previously did not know how "big Aronda was" and that they had been "overwhelmed by the big turn up" of mourners at Kololo, in Buziga (Aronda's home) and in Rukungiri (ancestral home). He thanked government for having taken care of the burial expenses and arrangements.
He wondered how a man who used to talk so little managed to have so many friends in Uganda and abroad. The Kololo prayers were attended by fellow Interior ministers or their representatives from Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Rwanda, Ethiopia among others. Aronda, they all said was very instrumental in the formation a regional and an African standby force.
Kahoza said, in Lindah, Aronda had met his humble match, as, despite previously being a CDF's wife and minister, she never moved in limousines with sirens or guards and that she is always in the company of simple women.
Aronda's elder and only surviving brother Henry Kamurasi said he once asked Aronda when he was still CDF to give him soldiers so as he could transport his cows to the market without security and taxation interference as he had seen his colleagues do but Aronda flatly refused.
"He said if every commander was to [deploy] a soldier to help their family who shall Uganda be left with?'. He also recalled another incident when he allegedly asked Aronda to help a family member get a job in Internal Affairs but Aronda told him thousands had applied and the system would only favour the best qualified candidates.
Aronda is to scheduled to be buried on Sunday in Rukungiru.