Rtd. Maj. Gen. Benon Biraaro had his sight set on big things when he decided to retire from the Uganda People’s Defence Forces aeons ago. His dreams led him to contest for presidency in 2016 on the Farmers Party of Uganda ticket. He was not successful in his bid. Since 2016, he lived a reclusive rarely making public appearances or utterances.
Behind the scenes, Biraaro has been battling with colon cancer, a battle he lost on Wednesday morning at Kampala Hospital.
A former high-ranking commander in the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF), Biraaro served in different capacities within the army. He joined the Ugandan Bush War on 7 June 1982, straight out of Makerere University. By 1984, he had risen to the position of secretary to the High Command and National Resistance Council.
By 1986, he was the deputy to Yoweri Museveni’s Principal Private Secretary. He was then posted to Kitgum District, as the special district administrator from 1986 until 1987. He then was transferred to Kyankwanzi and served as deputy commandant of the National Leadership Institute.
Next, he served as the commanding officer of the 97th Battalion in Uganda’s Eastern Region, which ended the insurgency in the Teso sub-region and in Tororo and Busia Districts.
Following that, he served as the commander of the military police in Uganda. He was then appointed the military representative in the Office of the Inspector General of Government. He then served as a member of the Adhoc Committee on Human Rights under the chairmanship of Abu Mayanja. He then became the director of training in the UPDF.
In 1998, he commanded the Ugandan contingent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). He then became the commander of the Infantry Division in the Western Region of Uganda. Following that he was appointed deputy chief of staff of the UPDF (DCOS), the fifth-highest rank in the Uganda military.
Next, he served as the commandant for two in-takes at the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College at Kimaka in the Eastern Region. He then served as the chief of the Strategic Planning and Management Unit of the Peace and Security Council at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
He served as the commandant of the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College in Kimaka, Jinja.
Biraaro attended Makerere University, where he graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science. He later attended Cranfield University in the United Kingdom, graduating with a Masters in Global Strategic Studies.
He also offered several military courses including; Officer Cadet Course, Junior Staff College in the United Kingdom, Junior Command and Staff College at the Nigerian Defence Academy, in Kaduna, Nigeria, Senior Command and Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, USA, Africa Strategic Studies Course at Nasser Military Academy, Cairo, Egypt, Masters in Global Security Studies at Cranfield University, United Kingdom
Outside the Army
Biraaro and several prominent individuals in the Ugandan military and business have started a public-private-partnership with the aim of raising investment funds locally to invest in local infrastructure and industry. Biraaro is the founder president and lead investor in Local Investment for Transformation.
A Religious Man
Biraaro is reported to have built a church in the village where he was born, in Isingiro District.
He was born on 1 March 1958.