Inspector General of Police [IGP] Martin Okoth Ochola enjoyed a largely behind the scenes tenure as Deputy Inspector General of Police [D/IGP] under former police Chief General Edward Kale Kayihura Karekyeezi.
One would easily bet in favour of some officers in police not knowing that the then very powerful IGP Kayihura had a deputy or even about the existence of a high ranking officer in the force called M. O Ochola.
His appointment to replace his boss in March 2018 must have thus come as surprise of a life time to the advanced aged man who seemed to have been looking forward to nothing bigger than just an honorable retirement from the force.
When it comes to character judgement, one ought to reserve special respect for President Yoweri Museveni.
At a time when everyone, including destiny itself seemed to have written off the subtle Deputy IGP, the President still saw something special in him and thus entrusted him with superintending over the force whose image had greatly depreciated under Kayihura’s iron hand.
Variously ridiculed as ” shell appointment” while the real power would be held by his then Assistant – General Sabiiti Muzeyi, the man from Tororo wasn’t going to feel bothered. He had come to reign over a force where everyone within would be given liberty to execute the duties mandated to their specific offices under the law.
To him, the office of the IGP is meant to play an advisory and oversight role rather than being the center of the force. He had largely grown frustrated under the previous regime when he was eternally confined at Naguru while his boss traversed all corners of the country with swagger, oftentimes flying in the force’s chopper.
On paper, all what Kayihura did was meant to be executed by Ochola who would by choice delegate some to the officers below him in rank.
But when he got on to the wheel, Ochola was not ready to commit the same mistakes he had painfully thrived under. Besides, he believed his best days were behind him and leaving behind a fully functional and professionalism chain of command at Naguru became his final wish in service.
During the first tenure in office, the then DIGP Maj. Gen. Sabiiti ran the day today business of the force, with all directorate heads allowed to thrive in their respective roles, something that has since ensured the return of harmony in the force.
Although publicly seen as a loose person, insiders at Naguru say Ochola is a very tough man. His zero tolerance to corruption and laziness has earned him friends and enemies within the force in equal measures.
His attention to the rules and detail has reportedly helped shape those under him, including current Deputy General Paul Lokech into the cream of the force that had lacked under the previous administration.
The camera project under the force’s IT Directorate is Ochola’s biggest achievement.
Even when his name has not been mentioned anywhere in the breakthrough of the investigations of the attempted assassination of Works and Transport Minister Gen Katumba Wamala, Ochola must be smiling over the accomplishment achieved by his men. The cameras which had been procured to solve the long chain of unresolved murders had not yet served the role for which they were intended. But this time round, under the able immediate command of Gen. Lokech, they were very significant in guiding the detectives who finally unearthed the racket of assailants that had evaded the long arm of the law for nearly a decade.
Without prejudice to what the public thinks, it’s highly deserving that Ochola gets recognition for changing things at Naguru. This largely explains why even when naysayers had ,right from the day he was appointed claimed he was to be replaced within just two years, he has proved his doubters wrong. In March this year, his reappointment for a second term was approved by Parliament and thing just seem to be getting better for him at the helm of the policing institution.
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