HICGI News Agency – Updated at 0010 EAT on Sunday 30th January 29 2022
The Swiss Security and Intelligence Agencies have launched investigations into death of Uganda’s Former ethics and integrity minister Rev Fr Simon Lokodo who passed on in Geneva Saturday morning.
Sources to HICGI News Agency indicate that the government of Switzerland move is to reach an independent inquiry into what could have caused a senior foreign official die on their soil.
“It’s with great shock and pain that we have learnt of the passing of our Honourable Member of the Commission, Fr. Simon Lokodo. He passed on this morning in Geneva, Switzerland. The Commission will share details in due course,” UHRC said in a tweet moments after the executive director Uganda Media Centre (UMC), Mr Ofwono Opondo announced the news while appearing on Capital FM’s political talks how, the Capital Gang.
According to the deputy Speaker of Parliament, Ms Anita Among, Uganda has lost a leader who served with dedication and had so much life ahead of him.
“My deepest sympathies go out to the family and friends of Hon. Fr Simon Lokodo ,the people of Karamoja and the Country.The Country has lost a Leader who served with dedication and had so much life ahead of him. May his Soul find eternal rest,” the deputy Speaker, Ms Among tweeted.
In July 2021, the Inspectorate of Government (IG) honoured Fr. Simon Lokodo for his tremendous efforts in the fight against corruption and immorality, and for founding a formidable alliance of fighters against corruption and other financial crimes known as the Inter Agency Forum.
Then Deputy IGG, Ms Mariam Wangadya hailed Fr Lokodo for his tireless efforts in finally constituting the Leadership Code Tribunal, 25 years after the promulgation of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and his contribution to the amendment of the Leadership Code Act, which she said had given the IG “ample teeth to bite non-compliant leaders and public officers.”
Ms Wangadya is the current UHRC chairperson where Fr Lokodo has been a member.
Prior to the Ethics portfolio, the then Dodoth County MP (Kaabong District) also served as Minister of State for Industry from 2009 to 2011.
Background and education
Rev Fr Simon Lokodo was born in Kaabong District on 28 October 1957. Lokodo held the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Theology from the Pontifical Urbaniana University. His Master of Arts in Theology was also obtained from the same university of Rome. He also held the Diploma in Rural Sociology, the Diploma in Social Communication, the Diploma in Philosophy & Social Science and the Certificate in Italian Language. He obtained his Diploma in Theology, from Makerere University, Uganda’s oldest university; founded in 1922. Lokodo also held a Certificate in German Language obtained from an institution in Austria and a Certificate in French Language, obtained from an institution in Paris, France.
At the age of 49, Lokodo first entered politics to contest a special election on 29 June 2006, following the death of the incumbent member of parliament. He was ex-communicated from the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI when he entered politics. He won the special election and began representing Dodoth County, Kaabong District, in the parliament. In February 2009, he was appointed to the cabinet as the Minister of State for Industry & Technology. In the cabinet reshuffle of 27 May 2011, he was relocated to the Ethics & Integrity portfolio, replacing Nsaba Buturo. In the cabinet reshuffle of 1 March 2015, he retained his cabinet post.
He was well known for challenging homosexuality in all forms. In 2012, he and the police raided and shut down a gay activist workshop. He was quoted as saying, “I have closed this conference because it’s illegal. We do not accept homosexuality in Uganda.” He also blamed foreigners, saying they should “go back home”. Amnesty International condemned the raid.
In 2014, Stephen Fry interviewed Lokodo in Stephen Fry: Out There, where he was quoted as saying “…men raping girls. Which is natural.” Fry later revealed in 2016 that he had tried to commit suicide in the hours after the interview.
In February 2014, dress code legislation was enacted, aimed primarily at women. Clothes that are considered revealing or sexually provocative were to be outlawed; “If you dress in such a way that you irritate the mind and excite the people then you are badly dressed; if you draw the attention of the other person outside there with a malicious purpose of exciting and stimulating him or her into sex,” Lokodo stated.
He served as the elected Member of Parliament representing Dodoth County, Kaabong District until he lost his Parliamentary seat in January 2021. At the time of his death on 29 January 2022, he was serving as a member of the Uganda Human Rights Commission.
Personal life and death
Fr Lokodo became controversially popularly for challenging homosexuality in all forms and condemning what he described as indecent dressing. In 2012, he and the police raided and shut down a gay activist workshop. He was quoted as saying, “I have closed this conference because it’s illegal. We do not accept homosexuality in Uganda.”
Amnesty International condemned the raid.
Lokodo was reported to speak and write fluent English, Italian, French, German, and Spanish. He died in Geneva on 29 January 2022, at the age of 64.