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Former Minister Rev. Fr. Lokodo’s remains returned

UHRC Chairperson Mariam Wangadya led a delegation of staff, Agnes Nandutu, the minister of State for Karamoja affairs, led legislators from Karamoja region and relatives to receive Lokodo’s remains at Entebbe International Airport on Sunday.

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The remains of Rev Fr Simon Lokodo, a commissioner at the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) have been returned this morning aboard a Turkish Airlines flight.

Lokodo, 64, a former minister for ethics and integrity, died suddenly on January 29, 2022 while in Geneva, Switzerland, where he had gone as part of Uganda’s delegation to attend a UN human rights meeting. Medical tests confirmed that Lokodo succumbed to Covid-19.

UHRC Chairperson Mariam Wangadya led a delegation of staff, Agnes Nandutu, the minister of State for Karamoja affairs, led legislators from Karamoja region and relatives to receive Lokodo’s remains at Entebbe International Airport on Sunday.

Ms Nandutu lauded Lokodo’s stance against corruption

“We have lost an icon of Karamoja, he has been at the far front of fighting corruption and the moral decay in the country. It is very unfortunate that the man who went alive for the conference has come back in a casket. It’s sad for country because we have lost the person who had the country at heart,” she said.

Legislators from Karamoja region including Pian County MP Achia Remegio and Amudat Woman MP Betty Chelain say Lokodo was a religious, generous, a mentor and an exemplary leader.

“I converted to the Catholic faith because of Lokodo’s teachings. I had an unaccomplished work with him in trying to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM) practice among the Pokot in Amudat,” Ms Betty Chelain said.

Mr Alfred Akoro, Lokodo’s nephew lauded government on ensuring his remains have been returned.

Lokodo was serving as a parish priest for Karenga, in Kotido Diocese, when he decided to join elective politics. Despite warnings from his superiors, the priest contested and won the Dodoth County parliamentary seat after the death of the incumbent MP, Ael Ark Lodou, in June 2006.

As a result, in 2009, he was suspended by Pope Benedict XVI. The Pope, through the then Apostolic Nuncio to Uganda, Archbishop Paul Tschang In-Nam, decreed that Fr Lokodo couldn’t continue carrying out priestly duties and also participate in elective politics.

In Cabinet, Lokodo was appointed the state minister for industry, a position he held from February 2009 to May 2011 when he was appointed Ethics and Integrity minister replacing Dr Nsaba Buturo.

Lokodo has also been a strong supporter of the now controversial Anti-Homosexuality and Anti-Pornography legislations.

In 2021, Lokodo was dropped from the cabinet. But, after two months he was appointed as a commissioner at the Uganda Human Rights Commission where he has been serving till his death.

He will be buried on Tuesday at his ancestral home in Karenga District.

Biography

Born on October 28, 1957, in Kaabong District, he earned a bachelor’s degree in theology and a master’s degree in theology from the University of Rome, where he studied for nine years.

He also possessed other education qualifications, according to information retrieved from the parliament website, including a Diploma in Rural Sociology, a Diploma in Social Communication, and a Diploma in Philosophy and Social Science.

After his ordination, Lokodo served as the parish priest of Kaabong from 1986 until 1994. He was the Kotido Diocese’s development coordinator from 1991 to 1996.

The dedicated priest worked on translating the Bible into Akarimojong from 1994 to 2000. He was named parish priest of Karenga in the year 2000.

Lokodo was also multilingual, speaking English, Italian, French, German, and Spanish in addition to his native tongue.

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