Debate as UPDF Impostor is Arrested in Lira


In short
The arrest of the UPDF imposter Col Lawrence Johnson Ochola has triggered mixed reactions among leaders of Lango sub region.

Ochola 38 was arrested on Monday by security at Special Investigation Unit over suspicion of being a UPDF imposter.
Ochola first appeared in Lira town three months ago and introduced himself as UPDF Colonel appointed by President Yoweri Museveni to oversee the construction of Karuma Gateway City and resolve leadership crisis at Lango Cultural Institution.
Born at Atakara village, Atopi Parish, Apac Sub County in Apac district, Ochola went to Awir Primary school for his early childhood eduction and later went to Lango College for O'level.
‘Col' Ochola was constantly seen moving in a strongly guarded two numberless TX Prado vehicles full of armed UPDF soldiers in broad day and many security officials including Central North Regional Police Commander,Richard Aruk Maruk saluting him.
But his arrest has attracted wide negative criticism from local leaders.
His childhood schoolmates believes Ochola is an American soldier holding Master degree in Human Resource management which he obtained from the US with support from a well-wisher who adopted him in early 1990s through a charity organization in Kampala.
David Ebong Abongo, former Maruzi county Member of Parliament and Ochola's longtime friend described him as a brilliant person with photographic like memory.
Ebong who met Ochola in early 1980 at Awir P.7 School in Apac district says Ochola was living in United States but he returned to Uganda in 2008.
Julius Peter Moto, the Uganda Ambassador to South Africa says Ochola is a high profile person who in 2014  was among the United Nation delegation that went to meet with President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria City.
Emmanuel Ebong Opeto, Ojwina Division Chairperson says he went to Lango College with Ochola but later lost contact only to meet him few months ago in Lira town.

James Olwa a youth leader in Ojwina Division says Ochola's arrest was purely a plot by some local leaders from Lango sub region.
Ochola has never been popular in Lango until 2014 when he was employed as the head of Human Resource by the Chinese Company constructing the Gateway City at Karuma in Nwoya district.
Linda Nabusayi Wamboka, the deputy Presidential Spokesperson said they have no records of Ochola being appointed by President Museveni to oversee Karuma Gateway City construction.
"I have cross-checked with all relevant authorities in security circles and with State House and we have no record at all of Lawrence Ochola. That man does not exist anywhere in our records  so he is definitely a fake Colonel, He has never been a Presidential pilot either or a Presidential appointee," Wamboka said.
On Monday, UPDF Spokesperson Col. Paddy Ankunda said Ochola is not known in the defense system.
Fred Enanga the Police spokesperson confirmed his arrest and ongoing investigations regarding his conducts in Lango sub region.
Three weeks ago, Ochola summoned 140 clan heads, all the four Bishops in Lango including Rev. John Charles Odur Kami of the Anglican Church and Rev. Tom Ibrahim Okello of Elim Mission and both districts' and legislators to Karuma Heritage Home in Nwoya district in a move to resolve on the dispute at the Lango Cultural Institution.

During the Karuma meeting, Ochola ordered for the dissolution of Odur's cabinet.


About the author

Ronald Odongo
Ronald Odongo is the URN Bureau Chief Lira, Northern Uganda.A multimedia Journalist, Media trainer and investigative enthusiast. Lira,Apac,Dokolo,Oyam, Kwania, Otuke, Amolatar,and Alebtong districts fall under his docket. Odongo has been a URN staff member since 2012 though he had been a contributor since 2006.

Odongo started out as a bicycle reporter for Radio Unity in 2004. He was Radio Rhino FM's senior reporter, Luo news anchor and station producer between 2006 and 2011. Odongo started out as a freelance writer for Uganda Radio Network in 2006.

Odongo is particularly interested in reporting on community health, and education concerns. Good governance and human rights beats are dear to Odongo as a former Lord’s Resistance Army rebels captive 1996-1998.