By Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine
The untimely death of Maj Gen Paul Lokech is very shocking. I want to send deepest condolences to his family, friends and the UPDF fraternity. I also send deep condolences to the people of Acholi sub-region for losing a dear son, who defied the odds and rose to the top.
Gen Lokech was a gallant, courageous and fine soldier. A lot has been said about his bravery on the battlefield.
His peers talk of how he commanded from the front, sometimes putting his life on the line. He had such a distinguished military career which many younger officers and men were eager to emulate.
Unfortunately, the Museveni regime has not only destroyed our nation, it has also distinguished itself in destroying careers and reputations of great men and women.
Eight months ago, Gen Lokech, who many Ugandans did not know, was deployed as Deputy Inspector General of Police.
This was shortly after the November [deadly protests], where the military and police murdered innocent citizens.
Gen Museveni decided to deploy Gen Paul Lokech to stop any attempt of the people of Uganda to rise up and reclaim their democratic rights.
Shortly after, another former Commander of the Ugandan Contingent in Somalia, Maj Gen Kayanja Muhanga, was deployed as overall head of operations in Kampala.
Gen Museveni boasted that he had deployed commandos from Somalia to neutralize the situation in Kampala.
Then hell broke loose. Hundreds of Ugandans were abducted, hundreds tortured and some killed in cold blood.
My campaign team was arrested in Kalangala and taken through hell, before they were taken to Kitalya for several months – to an extent that some of them are still missing or under illegal detention.
I was placed under house arrest and an array of grave human rights violations took place.
Lokech’s last public assignment related to the arrest of persons suspected to have attacked Gen. Katumba Wamala recently.
Some of the suspects were murdered during investigations. The images of the other suspects appearing before court with grave torture marks are very fresh in our minds.
It is therefore very unfortunate that Gen Lokech, who by all accounts was a fine soldier, had his good record spoiled by the regime just in the last eight months of his life.
Gen Museveni put him in direct confrontation with the citizens.
Obviously, I join many other Ugandans in raising questions about the manner of death of very many prominent persons these past few years.
To date, there are many deaths which have left more questions than answers and this is one of them.
While we know that death is a fact of life, the pattern of deaths of prominent persons due to “blood clots” and “heart attacks” leaves many questions.
I therefore join with the elders and leaders of Acholi sub-region as well as other concerned citizens of Uganda in their demand for an independent investigation in the cause of this death.
Even as we make this demand, we know that the regime never allows any such thing to happen. Ultimately, most answers will come out when Museveni is long gone.
To all soldiers and police officers who are still alive, my appeal to you is that you learn a lesson about this tragedy.
The Scriptures tell us in Proverbs 22:1 that “A good name is to be chosen over great riches, and favor over silver and gold.”
Before you make any decision to end another person’s life, or to cause extreme pain on any innocent citizen, always remember that we are all human beings, made of flesh and blood.
One day we shall all be gone and what will remain is the memory of the works we did. Work for that. May his soul rest in peace.
The writer is the President of National Unity Platform (NUP).
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