Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | It is exactly a 90 days ever since President Yoweri Museveni, appointed Maj Gen Paul Lokech as Deputy Inspector General of Police, to replace Maj Gen Stephen Muzeyi Sabiiti on December 16 last year.
Gen Lokech in his congratulatory message to Ochola whose new three-year contract was approved by Parliament last week, said he is very glad that his boss has been awarded a new term in office. The congratulatory message has been posted on police website by Police Spokesperson CP Fred Enanga.
In the 90 days he has been serving in police force, Lokech says he has noticed Ochola’s level of commitment and dedication that has made a positive impact on policing in Uganda especially during very challenging periods of both the pandemic and the general elections in Uganda.
“He added that Police Management was privileged to have been and part of the team, working alongside a very dedicated and professional IGP committed to protecting the communities we serve,” reads Enanga’s post.
Gen Lokech was appointed into police force 28 days to January 14, presidential elections when tensions were very high. The election tempers shot up after the November 18 and 19 protests where security agencies shot and killed 54 people while dozens were left nursing wounds.
The riots erupted after police commanded by former Kampala metropolitan police commander, CP Frank Mwesigwa, arrested then National Unity Presidential candidate, Robert Ssentamu Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine at his campaign venue in Luuka district.
Protests demanding for his release spread to more than 20 districts even though Kampala City, Wakiso and Mukono districts were the epicenter. It was reported that Gen Lokech was appointed to ensure there is no repeat of the same protests and killings but ensure there is proactive measures.
On December 30, Gen Lokech superintended an operation in Kalangala district where Kyagulanyi was arrested and airlifted back to Kampala. However, his team of 90 members were arrested and some including his close bodyguard Eddy Ssebuwufu alias Eddy Mutwe and singing partner Ali Bukeni aka Nubian Li are still incarcerated, facing charges in Court Martial.
In his addresses before and after elections, Gen Lokech who was overall elections security operations commander, assured Ugandans that there was no violence that was going to be registered. Indeed, Ugandans went through the January and February elections cycle relatively peaceful.
Gen Lokech is credited for ordering the arrest of Special Forces Command –SFC soldiers that had allegedly been deployed by State Minister for water, Ronald Kibuule, to rob polling materials and rig Mukono North constituency elections in his favour.
A senior police officer told Uganda Radio Network –URN that Gen Lokech called the Mukono DPC to ensure the soldiers were arrested. This was after some soldiers sneaked in a ballot box containing ticked ballot papers and declaration forms.
“He rang the DPC and RPC in the night hours. He ordered them to arrest the SFC soldiers or else he would arrest the police commanders. He even sent more police officers on patrol vehicles to back up the DPC. The soldiers were arrested amidst resistance from their immediate commander,” the senior policeman said.
Internal Affairs Minister, Gen Jeje Odongo, later confirmed at a press conference at Naguru police headquarters that the soldiers had been arrested under the command of Gen Lokech. The soldiers had stolen a ballot box in Kyampisi Subcounty after putting policemen at gunpoint.