JM Ochola: A tribute to the late DIGP Paul Lokech

To my Deputy, Gen. Paul, thank you for being a good person, a good family man, a good police officer.

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I am Mr. John Martins Okoth – Ochola (Esq), the Inspector General of Police.  The Late DIGP Maj. Gen. Paul Lokech was my Deputy for the last 8 months, and had already distinguished himself as a stellar Deputy, through his performance.  When I received word of his sudden demise, I was literally frozen by the finality of what his demise meant to me and the entire Police Force.  On my own and on the behalf of the Police Fraternity, let me extend our heartfelt condolence to the family, all mourners, well-wishers and thank them for joining us in celebrating his service and commemorating the sacrifice made by him.

As you are all aware, law enforcement is a very hard job, challenging, dangerous and very stressful.  It is a unique profession but to a bigger extent a calling to protect and serve our citizens and our country.  It is a profession defined by service and attracts only those who believe they can make a difference.  And this is the realm in which Gen. Paul operated every day.

During his placement with the UPDF, he worked in Somalia, and was given the nickname “Lion of Mogadishu” because he was so full of energy and always on the mission to fight criminal elements.  He believed in being part of something larger than himself. His heroism and the great sacrifices he made while on duty, will forever be remembered.  For this we hold him high and his family, dearly in our hearts.

Gen. Paul was one of the very best Deputies that I worked with.  He was exceedingly good at his job and always found the missing links in all the hard and challenging assignments given to him.  He was always smart in his uniform, humble, serious, engaging, courageous, gifted, charismatic, loyal and had integrity.

He was a warrior who was known for his ever present smile.  His work ethic and drive was unmatched, as he continued giving instruction to Directors, from the precincts of his home, on the eve of his demise.  We had hope he would recover because he had shown signs of improvement, and was planning on resuming work.  All of us who have worked with him in the police and the UPDF, describe him as an officer who gave 100% of all his time.

This can be witnessed by the outpouring messages in the media and tribute to his services.  It is a true acknowledgement of the amazing   person he was.   It is also a testament to the great impact that he had on multitudes of people, families, friends and our country.  He strived to keep our country, Uganda safe.

I wish to acknowledge that the arrival of Gen. Paul, was a transformative process. He was just eight months in the force, but was one of the most respected figures in the history of the force.  His intellectual and operational style of policing was viewed as a standard.  He was a key commander in the Joint Inter-Agency Security Operations for the 2021 general elections.  He particularly fast tracked the delivery of critical equipment and logistical supplies, that helped promote peace, security and safety during the electoral period; he effectively coordinated targeted operations and dismantled several organised crime syndicates on domestic terror, kidnaps, drug traffickers, illegal trade in minerals, motorcycle criminal gangs among others.  He also galvanised the enforcement of the COVID-19 SOPs; and helped keep the public safe from the pandemic; he vigorously undertook the initiative to rebuild and re-organise the Directorate of Crime Intelligence into a robust intelligence bureau that had started yielding key results.  And as the Chairman of the National CCTV Steering Committee, he was actively pursuing the expansion of the third phase and fast tracking the integration of all police technologies. In addition, as Chairman of the Appointments and Promotions Committee (Gazetted officers), he was working tirelessly to ensure gazetted officers get promoted for the first time since 2016.  He had successfully overseen the promotion of 3300 subordinate officers.

Gen. Paul will also be remembered for prioritising the welfare of officers and men in the force with emphasis on the lower staff; was also spearheading the establishment of the police hospital which was expected to commence in the FY2021/2022, and would extend free medical care for police officers and their families; he had streamlined the management and operations of all police schools, with additional plans of establishing a Police Secondary School at Kikandwa – Wakiso.  At the time of his death he had initiated a deliberate strategy of improving the housing and welfare of personnel.  A number of other projects that had been initiated during his leadership included; the draw down on utility expenses through the adoption of solar energy in all police barracks, the sinking of boreholes in major barracks,  to address water shortages; as well as the concept of high –rise blocks at major stations.

He had also embarked on the professional development of the force and had raised the Human Resource Standards, surrounding the recruitment of police officers, training, retraining and refresher courses for the lower and middle level commanders. With his direct supervision, he had successfully reorganised the Anti-Stock, Theft Unit (ASTU), the Minerals Protection Unit, The Forensic Services, and the Signals/Communications Department. He had an uncompromising stand on indiscipline and had fast tracked the dismissal of over 200 officers over acts of gross professional misconduct.  Generally his rich military background and personal attributes played a big role in reshaping our policing philosophy.  This is the reason why it’s difficult to contend with his loss.

To the family of Gen. Paul, there are no words capable of providing sufficient comfort.  All we can do is pledge our undying support and promise to be by your side from this moment forward.  For those of us who knew Gen. Paul, our pain is still raw and at times seemingly unbearable.  All we can do is honor him by carrying his legacy and by leading our lives as an example for others to follow.

Today we say goodbye to Gen. Paul, but it is not the last day we will remember his service and sacrifice.  His name is going to be etched in the police museum in the Police memorial of Fame.  For many generations to come, even after we are all gone, he will be remembered for the sacrifice that he made.  He has gone from us today, but his life and service will not be forgotten.

To my Deputy, Gen. Paul, thank you for being a good person, a good family man, a good police officer.  You were a peacemaker and may your life of service be blessed.   May you rest in peace, knowing that colleagues and all the people, whom you secured with such care and distinction, are eternally grateful for your humanity and for your service.

God bless you Gen. Paul.  May Your Soul Rest in Peace.

J.M.Okoth – Ochola (Esq)

Inspector General of Police.

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