The general stepping into Nakalema boots

What you need to know:

  • Brig Isoke started out as a private, joining the National Resistance Army (NRA), the predecessor of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), in 1986.

Brig Henry Isoke is today set to step into the shoes of Col Edith Nakalema as head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit.

Col Nakalema served in the position for three years, but now joins other senior army officers for a one-year course at the newly established National Defence College in Jinja, eastern Uganda.

Brig Isoke started out as a private, joining the National Resistance Army (NRA), the predecessor of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), in 1986. 

Once out of the basic military training course at Oliver Reginald Tambo Leadership School Kaweweta in Nakaseke District, Isoke enroled for an officer cadet course at Kasenyi on the shores of Lake Victoria, Entebbe, in 1992.

Isoke, who had just graduated from Makerere University in October 1986, quickly rose through the ranks as he took on more professional military courses in quick succession. The training included Battalion Intelligence Officers Course (1987/1988, Uganda), Officer Basic Course (1992, Uganda), Brigade Officers’ Intelligence Course (Fort Houachuka, Arizona-USA,1996). 

Isoke also undertook a Senior Staff and Command Course (Lusaka, Zambia, 2008), and Intelligence Course (National Defence School of Intelligence-DSI, Chicksands, UK, 2012). 

He also took on a Regional Senior Mission Leaders Course at the International Peace Support Centre (IPSTC) in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Senior army officers who have worked with Brig Isoke in different capacities describe him as intelligent, a stickler for time-keeping, and a team leader.

“Brig Isoke spent a lot of time in intelligence at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and he was also good in time keeping,” one of the officers told Saturday Monitor last week.

Other officers who worked with him in the Rwenzori region at the height of the insurgency by the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels in Kasese described him as an active field commander. 

Brig Isoke also served as head of Peace Operations Department at the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) Secretariat in Nairobi. He was also the Deputy Chief of Military Intelligence of the UPDF.

Between 1997 and 1998, Brig Isoke was deployed to Bundibugyo Zone in the Rwenzori region to fight the ADF. 

Between 2011 and 2012, he served in Mogadishu, Somalia under the African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom) to fight against Islamist militants al-Shabaab.

Isoke worked as the overall Intelligence Commander or Chief Military Information Officer.  
Outside the military, between 1998 and 2003, Isoke assisted in setting up and managing the then Revenue Protection Service (RPS) and the Special Revenue Protection Service (SRPS), which provided a foundation for the enforcement department of the current Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

In 2004, Isoke was assigned to coordinate the local communities and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to resolve conflicts over encroachment on Semuliki National Park, in current Ntoroko District. 

While here, Isoke is remembered for curtailing cattle thefts and apprehending cattle thieves and breaking up their syndicates.

In 2004, Isoke worked as a counter-intelligence officer with the Gulu-based 4th Division and was later moved to 3rd Division in eastern Uganda during the disarmament operations in Kramoja.

Also between 2005 and 2007, Isoke was deployed to UWA to oversee security in the national parks and strengthen the law enforcement department. 

During his tenure, he built the Special Wildlife and Tourism Protection Force, comprising a UPDF Battalion and UWA rangers. 

As a result, security in Murchison National Park (previously threatened by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels), Queen Elizabeth National Park, and Semliki National Park (under ADF rebel threat) improved. 

Brig Isoke holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Social Administration from Makerere University (1983/1986), and a Master in Security Studies from the Navy Postgraduate School (NPS), Monterey, California, USA (2014/2015). 

His decorations include Amisom Medal (2012), and Uganda’s Jubilee Medal (2016).