MP Betty Ocan wants MPs, Gov’t officials to choose their own bodyguards

The MP also called for thorough health checkups of some guards saying who might have mental illness while others could be emotional and acting under pressure in case of any demand from the bosses they are guarding.

The casket containing former minister Charles Okello Engola's body is seen under a tent at his ancestral home village in Iceme Sub County, Oyam District, ahead of burial on May 13, 2023. PHOTO/COURTESY

OYAM, UGANDA: Gulu City Woman Member of Parliament, Hon Betty Aol Ocan has urged government to allow VIPs and MPs to choose their own bodyguards as a measure to curb the unnecessary killings by some personal guards.

The former Leader of Opposition in the 10th parliament said that due to the unexpected shooting of the late minister by Pte Sabiiti Wilson, the government should study the profile and background of all the bodyguards to be deployed to escort or guard any VIP

“I Kindly appeal to the government to consider my request to allow all VIP officials and Members of Parliament to be allowed to choose their bodyguards to avoid the issue of unnecessary shootings and indiscipline,” Ms Ocan pleaded.

Mp Betty Ocan who was addressing the press shortly after the burial of the late Minister Col (Rtd) Charles Okello Engola Mac-Odwogo on Saturday, May 13, in Oyam called for health checkups of some guards saying some people who might have mental illness as per their background, while others could be emotional and acting under pressure in case of any demand from the bosses they are guarding.

‘We should do a thorough background check before one is deployed to guard any high-ranking official in this country,” said Hon Ocan.

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The MP, however, appreciated the government for according the late Engola an official burial and commended the MPs for turning up a big number to attend the burial.

Dila Benson, the Oyam LC5 chairman, urged government to expedite investigation into the brutal murder of Engola.

“What is the motive of shooting our own son [with] 28 bullets? They had planned and murdered him in cold blood?” he remarked.

According to him, political leaders from Lango held a regional council sitting in honour of Macodwogo on Thursday and agreed to push for a posthumous promotion for Engola to the rank of brigadier general, from lieutenant colonel which he retired.

“Two, the councils resolved and requested the government to upgrade our health centre IVs in northern Uganda to a hospital status,” he added.

Leaders also demanded that the government should address the issue of salary disparities among civil servants, which has continuously led to loss of lives.

“An incident where a whole minister was shot dead by his bodyguard calls for an immediate intervention from government to retool, reorganize and put a check on its salary structures,” Andrew Awany, the vice chairperson of Uganda Local Government Association and also Kole District chairman, said.

Over 40,000 people attended the final send-off of the minister in Awangi Village, Iceme Subcounty on Saturday afternoon.

Several Ministers, Members of parliament from all parts of the country, LCV Chairpersons, Police, UPDF and prison officers, cultural leaders, and the religious leaders attended the funeral in a great number.

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Vice President Jessica Alupo was the chief mourner at the function where he represented President Museveni.

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