Lokech’s eight months as Deputy IGP

Deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP) Maj. Gen. Paul Lokech

By URN

Ugandans on Saturday woke up to the news that the Deputy Inspector General of Police Maj. Gen Paul Lokech had died.

Lokech died from his home in Buwate in Kira Municipality, Wakiso District.

In December, President Yoweri Museveni appointed Maj Gen Lokech as deputy to Ochola replacing Stephen Muzeyi Sabiiti. 

On Monday, Maj Gen Lokech marked his eighth month as second in command of the police force.

But his short-lived lifetime in the Uganda Police Force will always be remembered by police officers and members of the public because of the warnings he made either against police officers or politicians.

Museveni brought Maj Gen Lokech into the police force when the country was only 29 days shy of the heated presidential general elections.

But also, Uganda was yet to come to terms with the fact that 54 people had been shot dead by soldiers and police officers in protests demanding the release of then-presidential candidate Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.

Although people knew him as a battle-hardened soldier because of his offensive approach to rebellious groups in DR Congo, South Sudan, Northern Uganda and Somalia, Maj Gen Lokech in his acceptance speech on December 21 after receiving a handover report from Maj Gen Sabiiti, said he had come to build a stronger relationship with public and stakeholders.

“I am not an expert, but I pledge to work with the police management to embrace initiatives aimed at improving further the image of the force and service delivery. It is my job to continue with the mission to protect life and property, promote rule of law, and build stronger partnerships with the public and other stakeholders,” said Lokech.

But nine days later, Lokech was in the spotlight for saying that journalists not recognized by the media council would not be allowed to cover the elections. 

He argued that the accreditation was to help forces distinguish journalists who are “compliant from those who are holding out.”

“We would like to further remind all accredited journalists that our zonal and territorial commanders have been availed the list of all successfully accredited journalists for ease of verification.  

This arrangement will help us, accord journalists, better protection over the remaining electoral process,” he said.

Lokech’s statement on the journalist was perceived as gaging the media and contradictory to the Electoral Commission guidelines which had already unveiled an accreditation plan for journalists without any costs yet media council procedures required each media practitioner to pay over 200,000 shillings.

Five days to January 14th elections, Lokech addressed the media and urged Ugandans not to panic because security agencies had bridged all the gaps that were to be explored by violent groups to have bloodshed before, during and after elections.    

A fortnight after the January 14th presidential and parliamentary elections, Lokech said security was aware of individuals planning anarchy.

He urged people to accept the voice of the people made through elections and political groups promoting panic and fear, using malicious video footage and audios, purposely intimidate and prevent people from their normal.

“This development by some opposition members of marshaling fear to rally support for street violence and civil uprising, for their selfish political advantage is not new to us. Therefore, for politicians to spread this kind of negative propaganda across the country is trying to provoke people to incite violence,” Lokech said.

In May, Lokech made his major shakeup of the police when he transferred 254 senior police officers.

They included Kato Paul Tumuhimbise as the deputy director in charge of investigations at the Criminal Investigations Directorate in Kibuli, Assistant Commissioner of Police Esther Akwango, was withdrawn from Nairobi where she has been serving as police attaché and appointed Ssezibwa Regional Police Commander, Special Investigations Division.

Others were Mark Odongo who was replaced with Francis Olugu, Rose Nahyuha was moved from Women Affairs, Deo Obura was moved from the Albertine region to Kampala Metropolitan Police East in the same capacity and Damali Nachuha moved from Counter-Terrorism to Aswa region as RPC.

Maj Gen Lokech castigated his force following the June 1st shooting at Gen Edward Katumba Wamala’s official military vehicle an incident that left his daughter Brenda Nantongo and driver Sgt Haruna Kayondo killed.

Lokech said there was a lot of laxity and negligence on the side of police personnel commanding the National CCTV Command Centre and division monitoring rooms.

According to Lokech, Gen Katumba’s attackers could have been cornered at the scene because they spent over 55 minutes seeming unaware of the escape route to take. 

“Our teams on foot, motorcycle squads and 999 patrols were not alert. This affected our response in countering the assailants, making cut-off points to confine them within the locality for arrest and adequately securing the scene of the crime and its surrounding. All our standby teams, mobile squads, advance teams, 999 patrols, motorcycle squads and other security elements must be extra vigilant and effectively coordinate their duties fully,” Lokech said.

This was later followed by the reshuffle that shows almost all ICT and CCTV commanders moved to general duties and different directorates.

He replaced them with new officers and neither the ICT director CP Felix Baryamwisaki was spared. 

Last month, Lokech faced public criticism when he announced that some suspects in the Gen Katumba attack had been killed trying to fight security forces. But when asked how the victims fought more than two dozen armed soldiers and policemen, he said they were skilled in martial arts.

Although Lokech identified Hussein Lubwama alias Master and Mustafa Kawawa alias Amin as only two suspects killed in Gen Katumba investigations, it was later discovered by journalists that two others Juma Said and Idris Sserwadda had been shot dead.

Human rights lawyers condemned what they termed as extra-judicial killing. Lawyers like Umar Nyanzi of Muslim Centre for Justice, Najib Kasule of Network of Public Interest Lawyers and Dr Livingstone Ssewanyana, founder of Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, demanded an incident report detailing circumstances that led to the killing of suspects.

Asked to explain why security always arrests Muslims in high profile killings, Lokech said that non-Muslims are never allowed to be part of the terror gang affiliated with ADF. 

He added that even when one is a Christian, he is converted and is given Islamic names.

That statement forced some Muslim lawyers to express their bitterness and urged him to retract it. They said the statement meant that assassins groups are Muslims.

His address on July 13th was delivered by Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga at the last minute.

Maj Gen Lokech’s last act was on 10 days ago when he overhauled the Police Mineral Protection Unit. 

He appointed Robert Ssenyondo as overall PMPU commander, Agnes Apolot as the deputy overall commander.

Patience Mboneko was appointed the unit’s head of investigations, Barnabas Banyenzaki was appointed to the unit as Kigezi zonal office, Leonard Munobe moved to Kigezi zonal office as the deputy commander, Norah Mirembe was appointed the unit’s central region commandant while Wilfred Waigo was moved to the unit in Ankole as deputy commander.

Those removed from the unit included Sarah Mwesigwa, Abbey Caleb Tashobya, Elvis Mugwisagye, Shakinah Birungi and Nathan Aryampa.

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