Former Deputy Chief of Police Maj Gen Paul Lokech has been described as a meritorious soldier by the Commander in Chief, President Yoweri Museveni. The high ranking soldier who has served in Uganda’s army since the early 1980s, passed on early this week having suffered a blood clot following a fall and fracture.
Lokech, who was on Friday laid to rest in Pader joined the Army in 1987, but according to President Museveni, the soldier had earlier started supporting army activities as a student at Comboni Secondary School, when he provided information about the Lakwena – LRA rebels and terrorists.
In his eulogy to the fallen soldier, the President said Lokech trained at Kaweweta in the 1980s as an ordinary soldier, having started working with the Army as a volunteer in 1987, before being commissioned as 2nd Lt.
Speaking of the service of the decorated soldier who preferred a reserved life, Mr Museveni said: “I, personally, as Commander-in-Chief, either heard of or worked closely with Lokech three times, where he did meritorious service. On one occasion, I was in Gulu with the anti-LRA operations. I was informed that there was a Commander that routinely fought through LRA ambushes in the area between Atanga and Acholibur.”
The Commander in Chief adds that he next heard of Lokech during his time as Contingent Commander in Somalia, where the UPDF, under his command, made a historic contribution to peace in Africa by defeating Al-Shabaab in Mogadishu. “Remember that we had gone to Mogadishu not to fight but simply do peace-keeping by guarding the Sea-Port, Air-port and State House. It is the bankruptcy of Al-Shabaab that forced us to go on the offensive and flush out the terrorists out of the areas of: Wanaha Road, Red Mosque, Bakara market, Mogadishu stadium, Mogadishu University, etc,” the President says adding that Lokech and his colleagues were ready for the job.
“That is how Lokech, apparently, got the praise name (ekikubyo) of the ─ “Lion of Mogadishu”. Lokech was one of the good Commanders that had performed well in the battles against Al-Shabaab in Somalia,” Museveni wrote in his eulogy that was read for him at the burial by Internal Affairs minister Kahinda Otafiire on Friday.
Mr Museveni revealed that the President of Somalia, H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo rang him on Sunday to express the condolences of the Somali people to his family and to Ugandans.
Mr Museveni was all praises for Loketch, whom he had fairly recently appointed as Deputy Inspector General of Police. He stated that the short span of his term as D/IGP was marked with a relentless battle against urban terrorism unleashed against innocent Ugandans by bankrupt cowards who feared to take on the UPDF and resorted to soft-targets like women, Moslem Sheikhs and lawyers like the former State Prosecutor Joan Kagezi who was gunned down in 2015.
Mr Museveni states that while government has rolled out several measures such as installation of cameras to curb urban crime, the measures are dependent on presence of serious commanders and operators that are available for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to use the cameras. “Until Lokech went to the Police, that was, apparently, not the case. Camera monitoring personnel would be playing cards (matatu), on social-media, etc. That is how crime would not be easily detected in spite of the presence of the cameras and other investigative means,” Mr Museveni states, adding: “The short time Lokech was in the Police, that all changed. Whenever there are security threats, I always get involved directly. With Lokech, it was so easy because I found an eager student in this policing job, that was new to him.”
The President attributes the success in tracking down and arresting criminals that were involved in the attack on Transport Minister Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, in which his daughter Brenda and driver were killed, to the relentlessness of Lokech.
“That is how, in the case of Gen. Katumba, we succeeded. Although the criminals used their shallow tactics of covering their heads, on account of Lokech’s concentration, together with some of his colleagues like Ddamulira, some of the criminals were clearly identified and they went for them. Arresting some, led to the identification of the others.”
Mr Museveni adds that the arrests of the criminals shocked the ADF who were used to the uncaring actors that would not investigate deep enough even when the clues were abundant.
The President revealed that the ADF had turned their guns on Lokech as a person. He revealed that the ADF had sent a suicide bomber to Pader to kill mourners during the funeral. “Fortunately, the main actor was arrested with his materials for making IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices),” The President states, further revealing that the orders for killing Ugandans are coming from terrorists in Eastern Congo.
“We are continuing to discuss with H.E. Tshisekedi about eliminating that cancer. I will also discuss with the representatives of the 5 Permanent Members of the Security Council because I hear that they are the ones that control MONUSCO in Eastern Congo. It is not correct for MONUSCO to co-exist with the terrorists in Eastern Congo that continue to massacre Congolese and, then, disturb us the neighbours. The terrorists that, eventually, attacked our brothers in Mozambique, were, for long period, preparing themselves in Eastern Congo. Our forces are ready to contribute to the punishment of these parasites. We just need the concurrence of Congo Government,” Mr Museveni states.
For his meticulous service and no record of corruption, the Commander in Chief promoted Maj Gen Lokech to the rank of Lt Gen. I have not heard that Lokech was involved in selling Army fuel which, sometimes, is a mistake that ruins the contribution of brave commanders. You cannot say that you are a brave Commander but you sell Army fuel. How will the Army fight in modern war without fuel? It is bravery in nullity. You cannot be brave and corrupt because corruption will lead to our defeat by lacking what to use because it has been sold by our “brave” commander.
“Given his exemplary contribution for the last 30years and given the fact that he had done all the Leadership Courses up to NDC (National Defence College- South Africa) in 2010 and given that I have never heard reports of corruption about him, I hereby, using the authority given to the President by Articles 98 and 99 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda, promote Major General Paul Lokech, Posthumously, to the rank of Lieutenant – General,” Mr Museveni writes.