The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) reserve force deputy commander Maj Gen Stephen Tumusiime Rwabantu alias Gonya has died.
Maj. Gen Rwabantu’s death was confirmed by the Forces deputy army spokesperson, Lt Col Ronald Kakurungu on Sunday morning, although the Col did not divulge more information as the UPDF would issue a formal statement “soon”.
According to family members on 3rd August Gen Steven Rwabantu’s health status had deteriorated and had undergone an operation in hospital.
Rwabantu RO/081 joined the bush war in 1981 together with Brig Taban Kyabihendwa after the two defected from UNLA barracks in Bugolobi.
He was smuggled into the bush together with a group of fellow other defectors by now Maj Gen Matayo Kyaligonza and after the bush war, he has promoted to various ranks and in 2018, he was elevated to Major General.
During the bush war, Rwabantu was nicknamed “Gonya”, a Crocodile due to his bravely in repulsing the enemy.
Lt. Gen Henry Tumukunde Kakurugu has sorrowfully mourned the passing on of his comrade and war hero stressing that he will be missed.
“I have learned with great sorrow of the passing of Gen. Stephen T. Rwabantu ‘Gonya’ (RO/0081), a war hero & comrade for many years. Always understanding & a true gentleman. He will be missed. My heartfelt condolences to the family, friends & the UPDF fraternity. #RIP Comrade” he posted.
In 2018, shortly after being promoted to the rank of Major General, Rwabantu boasted that he has been with President Museveni for close to 40 years and warned that anyone who wishes to joke with the peace ushered in by the NRA should think twice.
“Those who want to disturb our peace should think twice. Some of us are causalities of the bush war and we cannot allow such to return. If you want to disturb our peace, the ‘Goonya’ will come out,” Rwabantu, who was nicknamed Goonya(crocodile) said during a decoration function at the Ministry of Defence headquarters in Mbuya.
“If anybody wants to destabilise (should know) this country did not have this peace on a silver plate, we lost our people in the bush around Luweero. Some of us are casualties, but here we are. So we are warning those who are running around and think they will disturb us, they should think twice.”