Government spokesperson, Mr Ofwono Opondo, who doubles as the Executive Director of Uganda Media Center told journalists that the former army spokesperson Rtd. Col. Shaban Bantariza died of Covid-19.
The deputy executive director of Uganda Media Center died Tuesday morning at Mulago National Referral Hospital where he had been admitted since Sunday.
“He died at about 2am this morning from Mulago hospital where he had been admitted in the Intensive Care Unit since Sunday,” Mr Opondo said.
Opondo said, Bantariza had been complaining of chest pain, low blood pressure, low blood sugar and cough before he was admitted to hospital.
“He was first admitted in Mbuya Military Hospital on Friday from where he was taken to Victoria and then eventually transferred to Mulago after they had suspected he could have contracted Covid-19,” Mr Opondo added.
“His samples were tested and it was confirmed that he had contracted COVID-19. The postmortem has been done and it confirmed that he died of COVID-19,” Ofwono Opondo has confirmed to journalists
Earlier, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) said the death of Col Shaban Bantariza is a big blow to the party, given his loyalty and the fact that he had been appointed by President Museveni to help reconcile party members ahead of 2021.
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, Bantariza 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. On 28 September 2015, Bantariza retired from the UPDF. He continued to serve as the deputy government spokesperson untill his death on the 26th of October the year 2020.