KAMPALA, UGANDA: President Museveni has expressed disappointment with Uganda People’s Defence Forces, saying the State Minister for Labour Col. (Rtd) Charles Okello Engola’s shooting is an embarrassment for the army.
Mr Museveni made the remarks on Wednesday during the state funeral service in honour of the late Minister at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds in Kampala.
“I apologize to the family of the late Engola, the people of Lango, Uganda and Africa. This is a very big embarrassment from the army that somebody deployed to guard a useful cadre ended up killing him,” said Museveni, adding that he had instituted a board of inquiry headed by the army to establish the cause of the shooting.
“I call upon the political class to go back to the NRA line of sacrifice. Our ideology, strategy and work method was voluntarism, patriotism and sacrifice, not big salaries and other benefits. This embarrassment could have been avoided,” Mr Museveni added.
The president urged mourners not to reduce the cause of death of the late Minister to low pay in the army, adding that only the final death report will direct authorities on the course of action.
A visibly bitter Museveni also expressed disappointment with politicians and civil servants involved in bribes or corruption, warning them that very soon he will crack his whip; beginning with Northern Uganda and later the Greater Masaka sub-region. “We must examine and get rid of our weaknesses to avoid death.”
The president also implored the army to settle its own scores, saying that the army will have to sort out its own reversible problems using the available channels of conflict management and urged soldiers to exploit the services offered by Wazalendo, and the available health and education centres in the barracks to better their quality of life.
Also at the funeral, the widow Joyce Engola asked mourners to glorify forgiveness while the son Sam Engola Junior eulogized his late father as a good father, a warrior and an enterprising daddy.
The Chief Mourner and Bishop of Lango Diocese Rt Reverend Alfred Olwa who represented the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda Dr Steven Kazimba Mugalu, reminded mourners to work harder and stop waiting for free things, adding that knowledge is power so if knowledge is power then lack of knowledge is dangerous.
He praised the deceased as a hardworking man in great northern Lango who brought fruit farming, among others. Rev Olwa announced a condolence fee of Shs 17 million from the Church of Uganda.
Charles Okello Engola, born on October 12, 1958, in Oyam, Oyam district was nicknamed ‘Mac’ alias fire and ‘odwogo’ alias back; to mean fire is back ‘Macodwogo’ since during the LRA war in Northern Uganda people feared to ignite fire in fear of being sighted by LRA rebels, who would vehemently attack them.
He was also the 501 Brigade Commander that trounced LRA rebels and thus brought fire back to residents in the Northern part of Uganda.
The minister met his death after being shot by his body guard Pte Wilson Sabiiti at his home in Kyanja, a Kampala suburb, on May 2, 2023.
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