PROFILE: Who Was Charles Okello Engola – The Assassinated Minister


The State Minister for Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations, Col (rtd) Charles Okello Engola on Tuesday morning succumbed to his injuries after allegedly being shot on sight by his personal bodyguard.

According to the Kampala Metropolitan deputy police spokesperson, Luke Owoyesigire, Engola was killed by his bodyguard on his way from his home in Kyanja, a Kampala suburb.

Born on 12 October 1958 in present-day Oyam District, Engola 65, was a Ugandan politician and retired Colonel in the Uganda People’s Defence Force.

He was born to Chief (Jago) Nasan Engola and Ketula Engola of Awangi, in Iceme, Oyam district.

He was also the grandson of Rwot Olong Adilo, and also great-grandson of Rwot Olwa Abelli of Iceme.

Engola was appointed to the position of minister of state for defense on 6 June 2016, replacing General Jeje Odongo, who was appointed Cabinet Minister of Internal Affairs. He concurrently serves as the Member of Parliament representing Oyam North County in the 10th Parliament (2016 – 2021).

Background and Education

Engola’s parents were Nathan Engola and Ketula Engola. His father was a well-known and respected chief in Lango.

According to his profile on the website of Uganda’s parliament, he obtained his High School Diploma from Soroti Secondary School, in the city of Soroti, in the Eastern Region of Uganda. His first degree, a Bachelor of Development Studies, was awarded by Kampala International University (KIU), in 2010. His second degree, a Master of Public Administration and Management was also obtained from KIU, in 2013.

While in the military, Engola was the commander of UPDF 501 Brigade, headquartered at Opit, in Gulu District. The brigade played a role in fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army. He was promoted to the rank of colonel and retired from the military in 2007.

During the 2006 national election cycle, Engola successfully contested for the Local Council 5 (LCV), Oyam District Council Chairmanship, on the ruling NRM political party ticket. He won in a landslide, winning 93 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2011 and served as the LCV Chair for Oyam District for a continuous 10 years, from 2006. In 2016 he won the Oyam North parliamentary seat and is the incumbent member of parliament.

On 6 June 2016, Engola was named to the cabinet as State Minister of Defence. In the cabinet reshuffle of 14 December 2019, Engola retained his portfolio.

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