President Museveni has described former presidential contender, the late Maj. Gen (Rtd) Benon Biraaro as patriotic, fair and hardworking before urging the young generation to emulate him.
Gen. Biraaro who was presidential candidate in 2016 elections on the Farmers Party of Uganda ticket died of colon cancer last Wednesday.
Mr Museveni’s message was read by Minister of Security Gen Elly Tumwine during the burial ceremony in Masha Sub County in Isingiro District on Sunday.
“Biraaro was one of the patriotic leaders Uganda has ever had…He will forever be remembered as a fiercely principled man whose words matched his actions. He was incorruptible, balanced and fair person throughout his life time,” Mr Museveni said.
He added, “He built bridges of friendship and brotherhood in the whole country; wherever he went he left indelible foot prints. His death leaves a huge vacuum that will be difficult to fill. He was a pillar and a man of enormous influence.”
Former Presidential candidate, Dr Kizza Besigye said during the NRA bush war and even when they went into government Gen Biraaro stood for fairness which he (Dr Besigye) said NRM failed to deliver on and resulted into fallout.
“We shall continue fighting until fairness is achieved,” Dr Besigye said.
Gen Joram Mugume who spoke as a friend of Gen Biraaro said he was transformational and liked to teach others.
He hailed Gen Biraaro for initiating Local Investment for Transformation project, which is yet to be implemented.
Gen. Mugume asked the young generation to carry on the struggle from where Gen. Biraaro has stopped.
Widow Joy Biraro’s in-law, Mr Enos Tumusiime urged government to provide equipment for detecting cancer at early stages so as to save lives of people. Gen Biraaro had been to hospitals in Kenya and India.
“Cancer kills when it is at stage three and four. The challenge is that in Uganda, we don’t have machines that can detect it at stage one and two. You go outside (the country) for screening and it is late (stage three and four); they give you drugs that have heavy impact on your body,” Mr Tumusiime said.
He added, “I want to ask government to bring equipment to detect cancer at early stages so that people don’t die unnecessarily.”
Ms Biraaro questioned the conduct of UPDF which she said hounded the family out of the house when Gen. Biraaro was retired in 2015. She added that the family was stripped of other privileges including security/escorts. Ms Biraaro, however, hailed the President’s Office for the financial support they extended to Gen Biraaro when he went for treatment in India.
“When he went into opposition (politics) some army officers ran away from him but others remained (around him) and they individually helped us when we were seeking treatment in India,” Ms Biraaro said.
She said Gen Biraaro was going to make 62 years on March 1 and they were planning to celebrate his birthday. She described him as loving and caring husband despite his busy schedule when he was still a serving army officer.