GeneralGovernanceThe Light Magazine

SAD: Man Who Lifted Uganda’s Flag on Independence Day Passes On

Kanuti’s death only adds to the long list of uncelebrated heroes of Uganda who have silently faded away in their undignified retirement.

Maj. John Kanuti Akorimo, raising the Uganda Flag on 9th October, 1962

The Ugandan soldier who lowered the Union Jack (British) flag and hoisted the National flag when Uganda attained independence on October 9, 1962 has passed on this morning at Atutur Hospital in Kumi district.

Maj. John Kanuti Akorimo, aged 88, has for a long time been hospitalized over hernia.

Maj. Kanuti has been living in his ancestral home in Omatenga village, Kumi district since he retired in 1967 at the rank of major. Akorimo hoisted the national flag at the age of 32, and was at the time a lieutenant in the army.

He served the British government for more than 20 years and retired as a major in 1967 at the age of 37.

Significantly, he helped form Uganda’s national army under President Milton Obote and decades later, he was awarded a hero’s medal in 2003.

Kanuti’s Journey

Maj. Kanuti went for a commercial course in Nairobi from where he later joined the colonial forces then in Kenya.

He went to Britain for a short service commission from where he returned as a senior officer in the army.

Kanuti, who served as the chairperson of Kumi Association of Ex-servicemen, has since outlived the Ugandan life expectancy, but the little-known ex-soldier was yet to receive his terminal benefits.

The Faded Hero

Maj. John Kanuti Akorimo. PHOTO BY NEW VISION.

Kanuti’s death only adds to the long list of uncelebrated heroes of Uganda who have silently faded away in their undignified retirement.

Decades since he quit the army, the husband of two, a father of 16 and grandfather to 21 was still anxious to receive his reward.

In his 2019 interview with The New Vision, he said that “I left with a clean record in the army. I committed no crime while in service and I deserve a decent retirement.”

Several government officials have in the past visited him, promising to bring to the attention of President Yoweri Museveni what the ex-serviceman was going through but with nothing much forthcoming.

Kanuti’s last words to the media were: “I am happy even in the conditions I have lived in. I played my role and would not demand for much recognition but a peaceful Uganda.”

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Noah Omuya

Noah Omuya is the founder and CEO of Aica Media and a two time winner of the Media Challenge Awards (The best feature story writer- 2018 and the best Climate Change Photography Award- 2019). He has a bachelors degree in Mass Communication from Kampala International University. He is also an alumni for; British Council Future News Worldwide Fellowship- 2020, Climate Tracker Energy Reporting Fellowship- 2020, InfoNile- Code for Africa Data Journalism Fellowship- 2020, the Media Challenge Fellowship, 2019 and British Council East Africa and Africa Writers Trust Master Class in Creative Writing- 2019. Omuya has specialized training in writing, strategic and multimedia communication, mainstream and online journalism, broadcast media and youth participatory radio, content development, and public relations. He is very much interested in sustainable development communication.

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