Close army friends of late Brigadier Patrick Kankiriho have described him as a man of unique character.
Kankiriho, the fallen commander of the Mbarara based 2nd division, was pronounced dead on Monday evening at Nakasero hospital in Kampala.
Col. George Mwesigwa Bitanuzire, the garrison commander second division in Makenke Mbarara district, says Brigadier Kankiriho was a good fighter and administrator very transparent in all that he did.
Col. Mwesigwa first met up with Kankiriho in October 1981 when he joined as a guerrilla the National Resistance Army (NRA) in Semuto, Luweero district.
Col. Mwesigwa went on to select Kankiriho to be his best man at his wedding in 1990. They were both captains at the time.
Retired Captain David Bashaija, another bush war friend, says Kankiriho will be missed for his down to earth character.
Bashaija recalls how late Kankiriho started a SACCO in Mbale and mobilized all the youths in the area to join and fight poverty.
Apollo Mabati, a FRONASA veteran, says Kankiriho has been a role model in the army because he tried to live by example. He says he will be greatly missed by Ugandans from all sorts of backgrounds.
Mabati says he had faith in Kankiriho’s ability to repulse Allied Democratic Front (ADF) rebels should they try to attack Uganda again. The ADF rebels are said to be currently regrouping in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kankiriho was born in 1960 in Rushere, Kiruhura district to late Mzee Kakubwa. For his primary education, he went to Rushere primary school in Kiruhura. He later joined Mbarara High School for his “O” level before being forced to drop out of school in senior three to join bush war.
Together with his school mate Lt. Col. Grace Agaba, Kankiriho decided to join the bush war after escaping from armed kidnappers who picked several students of Mbarara High School with the intention of killing them.
He started out as a section commander first Battalion based in Kampala. He then rose to sergeant in 1981-1983 and later became junior officer class two after the NRA took over government 1986.
He gradually rose through the ranks thereafter.
Brigadier Kankiriho will be laid to rest on Thursday at his ancestral home in Rushere town, Kiruhura district.
The late Brigadier Kankiriho is survived by a widow Sunga Kankiriho and five children.