Levi Karuhanga, the General who pacified Liberia, Somalia

REVIEW01PIX{Daily Mirror} – The late Maj. Gen. Levi Karuhanga has been described as a ‘selfless soldier’ whose contribution to the restoration of peace in Somalia, Liberia and Uganda can never go unnoticed. Gen. Karuhanga died last week at Nakasero hospital in Kampala.

Fellow military officers, ministers, members of the diplomatic corps from various parts of the world praised and eulogized the fallen Court Martial chairperson and commander Reserve Forces as a hero and patriot who never raised his voice to complain during his service as a commander in different assignments.

Justus Muhanguzi, Gen. Karuhanga’s brother, says the fallen soldier was neither bewitched nor killed. Karuhanga did his daily work assignments and on returning home begun talking of difficulty in breathing. He had been battling diabetes and hypertension for some time.

The deceased reported to work at the General Court Martial from where he proceeded for the check- up because he had difficulty in breathing.

“My brother drove himself to Nakasero hospital on Thursday (April 21), and was immediately sent to the intensive care unit amid protests that he would be okay. The doctors later discovered that he had a serious heart problem,” Muhanguzi said after burial in Kigoma village, Nyabubare Sub-county in Bushenyi District, on Monday.

But the deceased, Muhanguzi says joked with people around, before they proceeded to his home in Ntinda where they had lunch at around 3pm.

“At around 5:30pm I left his house but was surprised to get a call from one of my nephews at around 7:30pm that Gen. Karuhanga was weakened and unconscious. I advised them to rush him to Nakasero hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival,” he told Daily Monitor.

Muhanguzi recalled that his brother’s complications started last month when he went on a routine check -up at Case Clinic for diabetes and hypertension only for doctors to advise that he had a problem with his heart. Before his death, doctors had recommended that Gen. Karuhanga travels to India for treatment. “He returned with hopes of recovering steadily,” Muhanguzi adds.

During burial, notable mourners, including the UPDF Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, Gen. Elly Tumwine, Security Minister Mary Karooro, UPDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda and local leaders commended a soft spoken and down to earth Karuhanga as an obedient and loyal officer.

Reliable, cooperative

The Deputy Commander of the Reserve Forces, Brig. Steven Rwabantu, described his boss as a reliable and cooperative colleague whose death has caused a vacuum in the UPDF and the country at large.

During his time as the first Force Commander of Amisom in the war-torn African state of Somalia, an assignment he took in 2007, Gen. Karuhanga shaped the way the ensuing commanders have been able to fulfill their duties according to the press release by The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira.

“He inspired Amisom’s decisive move towards defeating al-Shabaab and liberating the city of Mogadishu. Subsequent commanders have since been taking Gen. Levi Karuhanga’s method of work as a reference point in their operations. His contribution to the stabilisation of Somalia is highly commendable and will always be a reference point and source of inspiration,” the statement read.

Assignments

Karuhanga carried out several assignments in the UPDF, including serving as brigade commander in the UPDF 4th Division, between 1990 and 1992, Member of the UPDF Contingent and second in command of the United Nations forces in Liberia in the year 1994, Deputy commander of the 3rd UPDF Division in 1998, 3rd Division commanding officer in 2001, First Division commanding officer from 2005 until 2007.

In 2007, Karuhanga was appointed as the first commander of to Amisom in Somalia serving in that capacity until 2008 when he was recalled and succeeded by Maj. General Francis Okello.

He was in 2010 appointed commanding officer of the UPDF Reserve Force, serving there until June 2014, when he was made the Chairperson of the UPDF Military Court Martial. He was appointed by President Museveni to chair the court following the expiration of Brig Moses Ddiba Ssentongo’s one year tenure.

At the time of his death, Gen. Karuhanga was in charge of number of cases at the army court, including a high profile one involving the former head of Intelligence Gen. David Sejusa, who is accused of insubordination and absenting from duty.

Though quiet, full of life, Karuhanga was known as a disciplinarian and perfectionist according to the mourners.

Gen. Wamala eulogized the fallen hero as an adorable person and a gallant officer who without his efforts, UPDF/Amisom would not be in Somalia at present. READ MORE OF THIS STORY

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About Cholo Brooks 13357 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.