The country was in the mood of marking the 31st Heroes’ Day when news broke of the passing of Maj. Gen. Wasswa Kasirye Ggwanga, who breathed his last from Nakasero Hospital in Kampala.
Several inconsolable mourners including serving and retired army officers, friends, and relatives converged at Nakasero Hospital where he had been admitted for nearly three weeks as news of his death went across the country. Many were broken and could not hold their tears.
They remember him in three folds; a committed army officer, a generous Patriot and an environmentalist.
Bubulo West MP, Rose Masaba Mutonyi, who rushed to the hospital following the news of the death of Maj Gen. Gwanga described him as a loyal servant who excelled at executing his duties.
She said, Gwanga was no doubt a hero and with all his heart- he loved Uganda and showed it through his actions. She points out that Kasirye Gwanga chose to fight for the environment after noticing that it had been neglected as the big shots and people with influence continued to degrade Mother Nature.
In 2019, he was hailed by Mityana district leaders for his efforts in fighting deforestation when he camped in the district to fight encroachers and at the same time championed the restoration of the forest.
Joseph Luzige, the Mityana LC-V chairperson, says that the deceased will have a mark on the people of Mityana and greater Mubende where he served as the chairperson between 2001 and 2005.
Former Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) and current Works and Transport Minister, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala described the fallen officer, as a rare breed of patriots who gave their all, to serving their country.
“Everyone who knows him will tell you, he deeply loved his country and he served it wholeheartedly. We will for long remember him,” Gen Katumba said.
Gen Katumba however added that since he passionately did what he believed was right for him and his country with his no-nonsense approach, some people got a wrong impression of him and branded him a notorious officer.
Although many people feared Kasirye Gwanga because of his character and way of handling issues, Yasin kafuuma, who has served as his driver for over seven years described him as a cool-headed and highly disciplined officer who treated everyone with respect.
“He was a down to earth man. He could crack jokes and was very humble. He had his country at heart and always told us that serving our country should come first. it is a great loss,” Kafuuma said.
Gen Gwanga breathed his last at Nakasero hospital this morning where he was admitted on May 18. He had undergone a successful operation two weeks ago after doctors discovered a blood clot in one of the vessels in his head.
He was born in Mubende district in 1952. He attended Katakala Primary School and Kibuli secondary School for his primary and O-Level education respectively before joining the Uganda Army in 1972.
In 1978, he was taken as a prisoner of war when Tanzania People’s Defense Forces attacked Uganda and was released in 1980 when the then president, Godfrey Binaisa negotiated for the release of political prisoners.
He joined the Uganda Freedom Army led by Dr. Lutakome Kayira up to 1985 when he joined the National Resistance Army rebels serving in the artillery and commanded 120mm unit as they attacked Kampala in January 1986.
Gen Gwanga served as the director of stores in the UPDF and as the LCV chairperson of Mubende district. He first retired from the army in 2015 but just after three months out of the uniform, he would bemoan the life of a civilian thus asking the president to return him rejoin the army on a five-year contract. he never completed his contract retiring in 2018 at the rank of major general.