Ethics minister named in assault

Saturday October 12 2013

Mr Lodou during the interview at St Benedict Hospital in Luzira, a Kampala suburb. Photo by Geoffrey Sseruyange

Kampala- The Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Fr Simon Lokodo, has been named in a violent attack against a district accountant in Kaabong District.

The minister has, however, denied the accusations.

The district accountant, Mr Julius Dida Lodou, was waylaid in Kaabong Town while on his way home last week by unknown assailants who beat him to near death.

The 31-year-old civil servant is admitted to St Benedict Hospital in Luzira, Kampala. He complains of severe pain in the joints and head. He claims that the assailants assaulted him with iron bars.
They kept asking me: “Why are you after Fr Lokodo, why can’t you back off,” Mr Lodou says this made him suspect the minister was behind the attack.

He said the assailants dragged him on tarmac in Kaabong Town as they rained punches and kicks on him.
“I was out drinking with friends in town until about midnight. As I drove back home, someone called out my name. When I flashed the light, I saw it was Emmanuel whom I had been drinking with. I came out and he led me into a trap where I was beaten to this point,” Mr Lodou recounts at his hospital bed.

However, when the Sunday Monitor contacted minister Lokodo, who is also MP for Dodoth West County in Karamoja, he denied the allegations and instead counter-claimed that Lodou was beaten while drunk and fighting over a girl with other men.

“I am a principled politician; I have never incited violence in my political life. I cannot be childish,” he said.
Fr Lokodo labelled Lodou a liar.


Mr Lodou dismissed Lokodo’s claim that he was beaten in a fight over a girl.

“That is total rubbish. But even if we were fighting over a girl why beat me to death and drag me on tarmac for 50 metres. Lokodo knows the truth,” Mr Lodou told the Sunday Monitor.

Kaabong District Police Commander Victor Nahabwe appeared to give credence to Lodou’s rebuttal when he ruled out the minister’s claim of a fight over a girl.

“Investigations are not complete, the principal suspect has been remanded till November 15. But the issue of [fighting over] a girl has been ruled out because it is on record that she denied anything. We can’t rule out politics, though we can’t confirm as investigations are ongoing,” the district police boss said.
Mr Nahabwe declined to reveal details in the suspect’s police statement, but hinted that the accused denied any involvement in a fight with the victim over a girl.

“The girl also denied being the cause of the fight,” Mr Nahabwe reiterated.
Confronted with this police comment on the case, minister Lokodo said: “If police has ruled out that they were not fighting over a girl, then that is fine. I am ready to get to the root of this matter and get the truth. But I don’t know what someone would be doing at 1am if he was not drunk.”

Democratic man?
The clergy man-cum-politician also denied he was intimidating the civil servant for political motives.
“I have never even declared to my voters that someone is standing against me, it is the voters to decide so why would I go after him?” he said.

Mr Lodou declined to mention whether the minister had ever threatened him in the past over his perceived political ambitions in the constituency. But a close family member said the minister had in the past warned Mr Lodou against aspiring for his seat.

The family member further claimed that since the 2011 elections which Lodou’s father won, the minister has had a sour relationship with Lodou’s family.

Lodou is a son of the late Ael-ark Lodou, former Dodoth West MP who died before swearing in in 2011. Lokodo succeeded him in the resultant by-election.