Fr. Lokodo

The Chairperson of Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) Mariam Wangadya and Robert Kotchani, the Representative of the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have arrived for the final send off of the former Minister of Ethics and Integrity Fr. Simon Lokodo.

Lokodo will be laid to rest later today at his ancestral home in Kapedo Sub-County, Karenga district.

Fr. Lokodo died on January 29, 2022 at University Hospital in Geneva, Switzerland. He was on official duty leading the UHRC team at the 40th Human Rights Review. Medical reports indicate that Lokodo succumbed to Covid-19.

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At his death, Fr. Lokodo was serving as a commissioner at Uganda Human Rights Commission.

MPs from Karamoja region that include: Pian County MP Achia Remegio and Amudat Woman MP Betty Chelain said Lokodo was a religious, generous, a mentor and an exemplary leader.

Lokodo was born in Kaabong District on 28 October 1957. Simon 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 and 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 and Technology. In the cabinet reshuffle of 27 May 2011, he was relocated to the Ethics and 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.