The commander in chief Gen. Yoweri Museveni has embarked on a fresh search for a suitable officer to fit in the shoes of fallen Gen. Paul Lokech.
In Lokech, Museveni is said to have had a fighter so daring that he even secured himself a nick name ‘The Lion of Mogadishu’
We established that yesterday there was a meeting at the NRM headquarters chaired by the deputy SG Rose Namayanja Nsereko. In the meeting, Lokech was highly eulogized and was finally described as a man of high intellect and professional acumen.
In that yesterday meeting, a flash back into his activities in the field was done. It is here that the memories of LRA insurgency came up and how the army finally dealt a big blow to the monster rebels led by Ladit Joseph Kony.
It so happened that at the height of the fighting, the UPDF reached a point when rebels made routine surprise attacks. They would later flee into Sudan.
“It was later decided that in order to cripple the efforts of the LRA, the UPDF needed to attack the insurgents at their bases in Sudan” an inspector said in respect of the meeting yesterday.
Gen. Lokech was henceforth assigned to lead the intelligence gathering team in that operation.
This hitherto pencil-thin and dark-skinned officer it was observed; would risk his life and moved several miles inside enemy territory hunting for a unique weapon from the rebels called human PUPU!
“He would go as deep as 10miles away from the defense lines hunting for human pupu” an inspector said.
Thanks to his great intellect, Lokech not only stopped at spotting this human pupu but also went ahead to carry out a postmortem analysis of sorts on the pupu to ascertain whether it was fresh or for some days back. In so doing, Lokech would be in position to tell whether there had been any form of human (read rebel) activity in the location under review in the recent days. This would determine the next course of action by the army depending on Intel he gave.
“Lokech was such an intelligent man. He liked his work and always liked improvising in order to deliver results” an inspector at the NRM headquarters said after the yesterday meeting.
Such a narrative from the ruling party headquarters shows how the fallen officer was really like an ambilical code to Museveni as far as bringing peace to the north was concerned. No wonder, he posted him to that sensitive position as Deputy Inspector General of Police.
BUILDING BRIDGES DEAL
And yet, more details suggested that in forming his current government, Museveni had many strategic calculations.
Besides appeasing regions like Acholi that voted for him during elections, he also according to our Inspectors had the issue of transition in mind.
Apparently, the continued insistance by some political players to biseech the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute those behind alleged attrocities committed during the LRA insurgency was something that Museveni didn’t take lightly. It should be recalled that area politicians like Regan Okumu sometime back issued a list of people allegedly killed by the army during the war. This list went unchallenged and it is feared that the same list alongside many others penned by other players would resurface in future. However, the president didn’t want to go into such but instead, wanted to indicate to the Acholis that he meant well for them.
By appointing many of their sons and daughters to government, sources said the president was looking at a situation where the opposition propaganda in respect of the war could be diluted.
He therefore, embarked on a strategy to find cadres and placed them in lucrative positions so that these could act as his ambassadors in case the opposition maintains their stance against his government in future especially if he chooses to leave power.
“The appointments have a strategic purpose in them. He wants to mend fences with those regions because all along, they thought he didn’t like them. They have remained on opposition and they can easily be used to discredit his legacy. You have heard about incidents in Mukura (Teso), Acholi Bur etc. These don’t bring hope to the people and some may still want to pursue them. The best way to deal with it was to bring those people closer and forge a way forward together” says an inspector.
It was reported that for the president to agree to appoint a chief justice, deputy inspector general of police and speaker of Parliament from one sub-region (Acholi), it was a strategic move to cleanse his name of any negative opposition propaganda.
“Now, if the Okumus continue with their stance, there will be other people (from the same area) big enough to defend the government. They will not have the guts to pin it yet they too; have been part of it. A war is war and many things happen. But after the war, wounds must be healed and there must be political goodwill. Therefore, he wanted to forge a new story with those affected regions” an inspector says.
The president on top of appointing many Acholis to government, he went ahead and appointed another Acholi Richard Todwong as the secretary general of the ruling party and so is his Principal Private Secretary.
In the neighboring Lango sub-region, he also appointed many to cabinet. Lango; just like Acholi and Teso suffered LRA insurgency and many people were butchered. Not only did he pick more people from Lango and Acholi, but also went to neighbouring Teso sub-region and appointed many to top government positions. He gave them the position of Vice President, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Deputy CDF, Deputy IGG and deputy CLF in addition to several cabinet posts.
“This shows that he was looking at a strategic calculation. When one looks at the events in Sudan where former president Bashir was surrendered to ICC, it shows that one has to show goodwill when a matter is raised. Bashir failed in this art when voices came up pinning his army on Darfur. Therefore, whether it’s propaganda or not, it taints his image in the eyes of those affected by LRA war unless he showed signs of mending fences” an inspector added.
MORE ABOUT LOKECH
We were informed that for Maj. Gen. Lokech to have been posted as DIGP, it served two purposes. One to try to pacify Acholi and also to mobilize for the government which Acholis were still blaming on having neglected them. All along Acholis had only one cabinet minister Eng. Hillary Onek and a few state ministers like Okello Oryem, Beatrice Anywar and Todwong as deputy NRM SG.
However, other military analysts suggest that Lokech scooped that job simply because of his ability to perform but not because he was an Acholi.
“Lokech was a smart and capable officer. It’s is going to be difficult for CiC to find someone who’s equal to the task like Lokech. The idea that he appointed him because he was an Acholi isn’t true. Museveni gives jobs to an individual not tribe. You must be capable” says a top military inspector who refused to be disclosed.
The source added that looking at officers around Acholi, many are available at the rank of Brigadier and can easily be promoted to Maj. General but are not up to the task.
“One can look at officers like Ogik or Otto. These are good officers but Lokech was in his own level. Maybe, Brigadier Tolit. CiC needs someone who is equal to the task” the sources added.
Brigadier Otto is also a fierce fighter who has been in the jungles of Congo, CAR hunting for LRA boss Kony.
“They (Acholis) have lost it (DIGP job)” the source prophesied.
Other sources said the officer who can easily match Lokech’s capability is Maj. Gen. Leopold Kyanda currently the Joint Chief of Staff (JCOS). However, looking at the position he holds in the army, Kyanda’s posting as DIGP would be a demotion unless he is posted as a full Inspector General of Police.
“JCOS position is bigger than DIGP. Maybe if he is posted as IGP. But Ochola is still around since his contract is almost new” an inspector said.
Kyanda has all along been around the corridor to head police and at one time had been tipped to replace former IGP Kale Kayihura.
Watch the space!