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Thursday, 18 April 2013

BRIG PATRICK KANKIRIHO one of the UPDF soldiers mentioned in the UN panel of experts report dies : Uganda media writes fantastic pieces about his life


KAMPALA, Uganda — A new U.N. report that accuses the Rwandan military of commanding and supporting rebel forces in eastern Congo also charges that the brother of Uganda’s long-serving president actively backs the movement.
Salim Saleh, 52, is a retired army general, a former Cabinet minister, a legendary bush-war fighter, and a businessman once implicated by the U.N. in the plunder of Congo’s natural resources. ….The report, published on the U.N. website Wednesday, shows evidence of Uganda’s alleged support for the Congolese rebels, including pictures of the houses in Kampala occupied by the rebels as well as intelligence documents linking some Ugandan military officers to the rebels. Other prominent Ugandans named in this regard include Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura, the police chief, as well as Brig. Patrick Kankiriho, a senior army officer who commands Ugandan forces near the border with Congo. See, http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/un-report-implicates-ugandan-presidents-brother-in-congo-rebel-violence/2012/11/22/fc2a5c08-34b6-11e2-92f0-496af208bf23_story.htm

 Late Brig.Patrick Kinkiriho



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Late Brig.Patrick Kinkiriho

Brig Kankiriho
Brig. Patrick Kankiriho
Brig. Patrick Kankiriho

BRIG PATRICK KANKIRIHO, an epitome of a real soldier



Posted  Tuesday, April 16  2013 at  17:37
In Summary

Brig Kankiriho had many attributes of a good soldier and he channelled them towards the fulfilment of peace and security for his country, writes, Maj Gen Pecos Kutesa

Man is a social animal and at any given time, man has belonged to a social setting. These settings could be states or nations. There is a distinct difference between a state and a nation. People who form a nation have some underlying attributes like shared lineage or genealogy. An example is the apostolic gospel which traces the lineage of Jesus Christ down to Adam, because of the belief of having a shared ancestry.

They have a shared language, homogeneity, culture, belief, similar value systems, stereotypes and prejudices about the rest of society.
On the other hand, a state is composed of more than one nationality bundled together because of geographic proximity, conquest, colonisation or any other form of legal pact.

 Widow of the late Brig.Patrick Kankiriho

A nation can be broken into two or more states e.g. North and South Korea or the former East Germany, while a state is composed of more than two nations e.g. USA, former USSR or former Yugoslavia.

In the case of third world countries, because of technological backwardness, lack of shared means of earning a living and with no nation having the military strength to effectively colonise another, it has not been so easy to form a national state, the type of arrangements set up after the Berlin Conference made so many small nations to co-exist and they were called new 54 states of Africa.

The founder fathers of Uganda as a nation had envisaged what the nation should be like, drawn its flag and composed an anthem. At independence, the feeling of hope and optimism was palatable signified in the form of the statue of a new born child held high.

Many books about state formations and nation building have been written by eminent scholars like Prof Samuel Karugire and others. The next stage these former founders must have thought about is what Ugandanises a person. What would be the ingredients or qualities that make up a Ugandan? There is a current BBC clip that says, “What makes you, you”?

 Brig Kankiriho receiving Uganda guns from Kenya officials which was recovered from Kenya’s Pokot warriors. Photo by Steven Ariong  Brig Kankiriho

But most importantly what type of person among Ugandans should be entrusted with the noble task of providing defence and security of this nation? No nation or state can stand without security. Where there is no security, there is no state. Period. It is my belief that the founder members of the current UPDF, right from the university discussion groups in the early 70s patriotic clubs, FRONASA, PRA and NRA, were thinking about what type of person should hold the noble task of providing peace and security to this nation.

I think these people envisioned a person of the qualities of Brig Kankiriho. Brig Kankiriho captures, to me, what is expected of a UPDF officer – that is why I use the term epitome. There are many qualities human beings exhibit, however, if one can put more than four good qualities and channel them toward fulfillment of a mission, that person is a paragon of that particular cause.

Heroism to me is being in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing. If one can achieve such a chance twice, one acquires a status of being hero- worshipped by his peers, seniors and subordinates.

The unsung hero

There have been so many hero-worshipped (army commanders within the ranks of the UPDF). However, there is the conscientious worker which society takes for granted, since it is a given that when given whatever task, such a person is expected to deliver and they themselves believe they must fulfill it. That was Brig Kankiriho.

There are statements that have become slogans, “Clarity of the vision, maintenance of focus, etc.” Brig Kankiriho lived them unwaveringly as the Minister of Defence pointed out, unpretentiously. He never did whatever he did to try to convince anybody. He did whatever he did because it was the right thing to do.

There are two things; knowing what to do and having ability to do it, not once, not twice but repeatedly. This is not a common trait. Brig. Kankiriho’s tools of analysis of any given situation were shaped by a clear conscience. With no stereotype prejudiced solutions, he tried to find the cause of the conflict rather than harm the individual people in the conflict.

The UPDF ideology which has stood the test of time is that, any opponent is a potential comrade. Just find the root of the disagreement and the rest will fall in place. In all wars, the first question the soldiers ask is, who is the enemy? The Commander must be able to make his/her troop, identify and isolate the enemy in order to go about their work. In a civil disagreement, the question of who is the enemy has always remained elusive. It is lack of identification and isolation of the enemy that has led to the contentious strife later to be named in developing nations.

In the early 1980s when I joined the group which was later to be named PRA, Uganda was in flames. Obote II regime had just been sworn in and more than 26 groups of fighters all against the regime had declared war on the government. Five years later, most of those groups had fizzled out having either been eliminated by Obote or absorbed by NRA. By 1986 when we were entering Kampala, we had already started capturing UNLA forces, debriefing them, and deploying them alongside our troops, turning their nozzles toward the now easily identified enemy. The ability to make opposing troops see reason and change wholeheartedly was and still is one of our major weapons.

The right person to wield this mighty weapon had to have the qualities exhibited by the likes of Brig Kankiriho. Such an officer, must have clarity of vision, maintain the aim unwaveringly, with a clear conscious, have no bias or prejudice but above all, the conscious or revolutionary discipline to carry out this task.

Everybody talks about UPDF discipline. This discipline is not the mechanical robotic discipline which is pretentious and never enduring.
The UPDF discipline is in our psyche through ideological discussion, lectures, soaps and drama. UPDF has always insisted on conscious revolutionary discipline, and Brig Kankiriho had that in abundance.
The method of instilling this enduring discipline is known as “Vipindi Vya siasa” which was according to me misinterpreted to mean “political education”. I may be accused of being parochial or of splitting hairs. But to me, ideological orientation seems to be a better term to what is known as political education.

The ideology of a national army should be above political or organisational forums which are just arrangements of how to share a national cake.

When he meets his mentors

Brig. Kankiriho has been hailed from Bundibugyo to Karamoja, from Garamba to Nzara, from Arua to Rwanda, from Mogadishu to Kikabanimba in Luweero. What political party did he belong to, what religious sect did he belong to, what was his ethnicity? To me, that is the epitome of a National Defence Force officer.

Lastly, if there is life here affter and if the revolutionaries were to meet as the Christians or Muslims hope to meet their makers in heaven, I wish I could eavesdrop on the welcome accorded to Brig Kankiriho by his founder fathers, the likes of Rwaheru, Mwesigwa, Rwigyema, Chief Ali and many others. I think their Kipini kya utamadumi would be something to envy.
May his soul rest in peace.