Uganda's Former ethics and integrity minister Rev Fr Simon Lokodo is dead.
Fr Lokodo, a member of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) died Saturday morning in Geneva, Switzerland, according to a statement from the rights body.
“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.
Lokodo, a former priest who was known to promote conservative social values, served as Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity between 2011 and June 2021 when he was dropped from cabinet. He was two months later appointed as a commissioner for the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC).
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.
At the age of 49, Lokodo first entered politics to contest in a by-election in June 2006, following the death of the Dodoth County incumbent MP. He was consequently ex-communicated from the Catholic Church by Pope Benedict XVI when he entered politics. He won the by-election.
In February 2009, he was appointed to the cabinet as the Minister of State for Industry and Technology. In the cabinet reshuffle of May 27, 2011, he was reassigned to the Ethics and Integrity portfolio, replacing Nsaba Buturo. In the cabinet reshuffle of March 2015, he retained his cabinet post.
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.