What you should know about newly appointed deputy IGP Maj Gen Paul Lokech

Maj Gen Paul Lokech
Maj Gen Paul Lokech.

Kampala, Uganda | URN | President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday 16, December 2020 dropped Maj Gen Stephen Muzeeyi Sabiiti from the position of deputy Inspector General of Police [IGP] replacing him with Maj Gen Paul Lokech.

Maj Gen Sabiiti was appointed to deputise Martin Okoth Ochola on March 4, 2018 when President Museveni sacked the then IGP Gen Edward Kale Kayihura and elevated Ochola who was his deputy to IGP.

Maj Gen Lokech has been serving in South Sudan where he was deployed in November last year. Gen Lokech was sent to South Sudan to monitor on behalf of the guarantors the South Sudan peace process, the assembling, screening, demobilization and integration of the armed forces of South Sudan.

Maj Gen Lokech comes into Uganda Police Force with a wealth of experience in leadership, administration and command. Lokech is one of the commanders credited for breaking the back of Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia when he was commander of UPDF contingent between 2011 and 2012.

Because of his relentless confrontation with Al-Shabaab insurgents and capturing key historical places like the Red Mosque in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, the then Brigadier Lokech was nicknamed the ‘Lion of Mogadishu.’

President Museveni between 2017 to 2018 redeployed Lokech to Somalia still as UPDF contingent commander and when he returned, he promoted him to the rank of Maj General. He immediately posted him to Jinja to command the Uganda Rapid Deployment Capability Centre.

Gen Lokech till recently was Chief of Staff of Uganda People’s Defence Air Force [UPDAF]. He previously served as part of the commanders of Uganda’s peace-keeping forces in South Sudan.

The two-star General was part and parcel of Operation Safe Haven where UPDF extremely went offensive on rebels of Allied Democratic Front [ADF] who were being commanded by now incarcerated Jamil Mukulu. The ADF was still based in the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC].

Maj Gen Lokech also commanded UPDF Second Division which is based in Mbarara at Makenke barracks. Other places where Maj Gen Lokech was deployed include Russia where he was Uganda’s Defence Attaché.

The scuffle ensued near Club Agenda 2000 and the general lost his cool, slapping the female traffic commander. It took the intervention of Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Moses Kafeero to solve the matter as ASP Kyobutungi threatened to sue the General.

Nevertheless, Maj Gen Lokech was in May this year on the spot for assaulting Kira Division traffic commander, Ruth Kyobutungi. Trouble started when ASP Kyobutungi stopped and reprimanded Lokech for driving on the road shoulder along Kireka-Kyaliwajjala road.

President Museveni’s latest security forces reshuffle

President and Commander In Chief Gen Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has made a reshuffle in the security forces.

Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba is back as Special Forces Command [SFC] Commander while his former Deputy Gen Sabiiti Muzeyi is back to General HQ for redeployment.

Lt Gen Kainerugaba replaces Maj Gen Birungi who has been SFC commander since June 2019 when he was appointed.

SFC is a unit of the UPDF responsible for the security of the President of Uganda, his immediate family, the constitutional monarchs and vital national installations, including the country’s oil fields.

Martin Okoth Ochola is retained as Inspector General of Police [IGP]. Brig Gen Flavia Byekwaso, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces [UPDF] spokesperson, confirmed the changes, saying ” some await parliamentary approvals.”

The changes come a week after seven top to middle commanders of security forces were mentioned as likely targets of various U.S. sanctions programs following riots in Kampala that left up to 50 dead.

The US cites the November 2016 attack by Ugandan security forces on the palace of the Rwenzururu King Wesley Mumbere in Kasese in which over 100 civilians were allegedly massacred and the September 2017 attack on parliament by Special Forces during the debate over whether to remove presidential age limits from the constitution, which now allows President Museveni to rule indefinitely. They mention MP Betty Nambooze who suffered serious spinal injuries.

They also mention the July 2018 social media tax and say it was designed to discourage anti-government mobilisation on the part of youths and dissidents, and the arrest and torture in 2018 of Robert Kyagulanyi and 32 other opposition politicians following a by-election in Arua.

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The seven commanders include Lt. Gen. Peter Elwelu, the Commander of Land Forces, Maj. Gen. James Birungi, the Commander of the Special Forces Command, Maj. Gen. Don William Nabasa, the former Commander of the Special Forces Command, Maj. Gen. Abel Kandiho, the Chief of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Steven Sabiiti Muzeyi, the Deputy Inspector of General of Police, Frank Mwesigwa, a Commissioner of Police, and Col. Chris Serunjogi Ddamulira, the Director of Crime Intelligence.

The seven face American sanctions following a request forwarded to the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, by the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Eliot Engel which cited their alleged involvement in human rights abuses past and present.