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

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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 Communications LTD, a Company that currently runs an online news publication (www.aica.co.ug) with a plan of beginning to print Magazines and a newspaper in Ateso language in 2020. He is a Media challenge Fellow- class of 2019 and he has specialized training in writing, strategic and multimedia communication, mainstream and online journalism from the Media challenge fellowship and Kampala International University, where he pursued his Bachelors of Mass Communication. At the age of 18, Omuya was a train-on-job employee with Joshua 93.5 FM where he acquired a three years’ demonstrable experience in broadcast media, content development, public relations and, marketing and promotions strategies for private businesses, public entities and non-profit organizations, as well as engaging with traditional media. He scooped a Media Challenge award for the best feature essay writer of the year 2018. He was also first runner up for the refugee broadcast story of the year, and second runner up for radio feature story teller. The Media Challenge Award qualified him to be part of the Media Challenge Fellowship, where he has got intensive training in solutions journalism, political reporting, investigative reporting, youth participatory radio, multimedia journalism, and data journalism. At the fellowship, he has been trained by international celebrated journalists from BBC, CNN, Reuters, AFP, NBS Tv, UBC Tv, NTV, New Vision, Daily Monitor among other recognized institutes. He also has hands-on experience in research, in different private organizations in Uganda; experience in media relations with regular assignments in field reporting, marketing and public relations.

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