Former Deputy Director for the Uganda Media Centre and deputy government spokesperson Col. Shaban Bantariza has been laid to rest.
Col. Bantariza who breathed his last on Tuesday at Mulago Hospital was buried at his ancestral home in Kagorogoro, Mitooma District on Thursday morning.
His burial ceremony was attended by top government officials, top officers in the Uganda People’s Defence Force and in the ruling National Resistance.
A few friends were also allowed to attend the burial but numbers were limited so as to observe social distancing to prevent the spread of Covid19, a disease which claimed Bantariza’s life.
According to government spokesperson who was also Bantariza’s boss Ofwono Opondo, the falled Colonel was accorded full military honors.
“Col. Shaban Bantariza has been buried in full military honours with a 24-Gun Salute. Each of the eight firing parties shot three bullets in a calibrated pattern,” Opondo who was present at the burial posted on his social media.
Bantariza joined the army in 1985 and served it in various capacities until when he retired in 2015.
Batanzira was born in Mitooma District in Uganda’s Western Region, circa 1963. He attended St. Leo’s College, Kyegobe, in Fort Portal, Kabarole District for his O-Level studies. He then joined the Catholic brotherhood, where he trained as an elementary school teacher.
While pursuing a course at Makerere University in 1985, he abandoned his studies and joined the National Resistance Army, led by Yoweri Museveni. He attended guerrilla bootcamp in the Kabarore area, in foothills of the Rwenzori Mountains.
He also attended and graduated from the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College, having studied the senior command course offered annually at the college.
Bantariza served as the UPDF spokesperson from 2000 to 2002 and from 2003 to 2006. For a period of time, prior to February 2009, Batanzira, at the rank of lieutenant colonel, served as the commander of the Oliver Tambo Leadership School, in Kaweweta, Nakaseke District, in Uganda’s Central Region. On 26 February 2009, he was appointed commandant of the National Leadership Institute (NALI), in Kyankwanzi, Kyankwanzi District.
He served in that capacity until he was relieved of his duties on 7 October 2011.
In June 2013, he was appointed as Deputy Executive Director of the National Media Centre. On 2 July 2013, at the rank of colonel, he was arrested, charged with embezzlement and remanded to Makindye Military prison by the General Court Martial on charges of alleged fraud.
After proceedings that lasted nearly three years, the Court Martial, chaired by Major General Levi Karuhanga, acquitted Colonel Bantariza due to lack of evidence against him, on 14 April 2015.
On 24 June 2015, following his acquittal by the general court martial, he resumed work at the Uganda Media Centre, the president of Uganda having directed in writing that Bantariza resumes work.