The Ugandan Community, political leaders, and the country at large were awake when the shocking waves of the death of Maj Gen Paul Lokech, the Lion of Mogadishu gripped the country.
Maj Gen Lokech, better known as the Lion of Mogadishu silenced his roar on Saturday morning, sending an echo of his previous roars across the country.
The towering decorated General is said to have announced his death while he took a shower at his home, where he was recovering from an illness since taking leave two weeks ago.
“I am losing breath,” the General is said to have communicated before falling over and reaching the end of his earthly battles.
“This morning, my friend and comrade, Maj. Gen. Paul Lokech, who has also been deputy Inspector General of Police, died suddenly and unexpectedly of a blood clot. I last talked to Lokech on Thursday at 8 pm and he was very fine. Uganda has lost a true giant of a general!” announced Andrew Mwenda, a seasoned journalist.
“Lokech was first and foremost a patriot and a great soldier. He has fought many battles and rubbed shoulders with death several times. He will be remembered for being straightforward, dedicated, and efficient,” Mwenda added.
The news of Lokech’s death spread as fast as the disbelief that he was gone.
The Next Media Services CEO Kin Karisa said the messages being sent out to mourn Lokech were testimony of the deceased’s legacy.
“The loss of Gen. Paul Lokech is very terrible news! My sincere sympathy goes out to his family, relatives, the #Uganda-n security forces, and all Ugandans. The tributes being sent his way show a man that has left a great legacy. Rest in Peace, Lion of Mogadishu.”
The King of Tooro, Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi said Lokech will be remembered “forever”.
“I extend sincere condolences to family, friends, and colleagues of Lt. Gen. Pecos Kutesa and Deputy IGP Maj. Gen. Paul Lokech. The country has lost gallant sons and patriots. Your great service to Uganda will be remembered forever,” he said.
NTV Journalist Raymond Mujuni’s most recent possession of Lokech’s memory is a screenshot of dialed history, the two had talked on Thursday been arguing over the deployment of UPDF in Somalia after it came up during a talk show.
Mujuni, posted the screenshot before black screen wallpaper, and that will be all he has of the last moments of the humble, calm, and towering man who roared far from home, the rubbles of Somalia’s Mogadishu.
“Sad! Shocked! Maj. Gen. Paul Lokech is another fruit fallen unripe! My condolences to his family, the armed forces and all Ugandans. Lokech embodied sterling qualities of a man and a soldier. He survived LRA and Al Shabab only to succumb to a blood clot! Blood clot, who born you?” is all DP’s President General Norbert Mao could muster.
NBS TV’s Samson Kasumba said he wanted to type but could not, instead plastering the Timeline with a series of crying emojies, the always wordy Kasumba had succumbed to the terrible news.
Kasumba was not alone stuck with a bag of emotions yet incommunicable, former UPDF Deputy Spokesperson Col Deo Akiiki, said he had been thinking of what to tweet but failed terribly at the job.
“Drafted many messages and deleted them. I remembered the word from my commander in chief that brought life back to normal. Revolutionaries don’t get devastated. RIP Gen Paul Lokech the Lion of Mogadishu,” he finally came close to his desired message.
The Country has been pained, many people in the public bowed heads in their phones, only to raise their eyes up in sombre mood, while others sadly jeered, death has snatched the favorites again.
“Today the country has lost an indomitable warrior and patriot. Rest well my brother Maj.General Paul Lokech. You fought a very good fight for the motherland. We will always remember you and miss you,” The First Son and Commander Land Forces Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba eulogized.
In the words of Uganda’s youngest legislator Hellen Auma Wandera alias Mama Busia, “Death cheats us of great men. We shall surely miss your patriotic heart and true love for the Pearl. Rest in Power-Gen Paul Lokech.”
Col Edith Nakalema, the head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit eulogised Lokech as a great resource to the country, who served with inflexible devotion.
“Tragedy has befallen us in the forces following Maj Gen. Paul Lokech’s sudden death. Afande Paul has served Uganda with an inflexible devotion. The nation has lost a great resource. May God comfort Gen.Lokech’s family,relatives and friends in this challenging period of grief,” she said.
Such a battle-hardened man as Lokech, would be expected not to be on the right side of many, alas, the roaring lion made friends far and wide.
From the deep ends of Somalia, to Kampala and back, via his ancestral home in Pader, where leaders have gathered in sadness to give him a befitting send-off to join an army that fights with shiny armors, a galactical army that never falls.
One of the local leaders back home Odonga Otto, former MP for Aruu County, rested his rivalry with Lokech, and penned a tribute as well.
“As believers, I understand that this world is not ours. Ecless.3.3 consoles, “there is time for everything” In this world, events move faster than we discover, all is vanity. May the good Lord reward you for all the good deeds. Condolences to the family,” Otto said.
Death in an unspeakable mystery and we often want to ask why? Unfortunately, we never get answers. That does not stop us from continuing to probe why the favorites get snatched in the chaos, and the news of their passing comes pounding on our hearts like a midnight storm.
“Just received very sad news that Gen. Paul Lokech has gone to be with the Lord. Why Why Why God? Why Gen. Lokech? A clot has taken u at a time we needed u most! Go serve with the angels Soldier! Till we meet again,” the words of government chief whip, Thomas Tayebwa.
Death is useless and brings a standstill in the lives of the bereaved, indeed, Nile Post’s fulcrum has been affected as well as one of our most versatile writers Kenneth Kazibwe, an ardent admirer of Maj Gen Paul Lokech has been inconsolable since the news broke.
Kazibwe spoke fondly of the Lion of Mogadishu and could not help recirculate a picture they have taken together whenever he felt like it.
Following the death of Lokech, Kazibwe went to his timeline and could only manage a statement “Why God”.
He has since distanced himself from social media and has not been able to pen a story.
The feelings of Kenneth Kazibwe sum up the impact of Lokech’s death on Ugandans far and wide.
The towering General, whose shadow was everywhere, whose actions were appreciated in every nook and cranny, whose humility touched everyone, and whose silence has been so loud all over. May His Soul Rest in Peace.