charles okello engola biography
Charles Okello Engola

Who is Charles Okello Macodwogo Engola? Flash Uganda Media looks at his biography, age, wife, family, tribe, relationship with Nasan Engola and Ketula Engola, MP Oyam North county, early life and education of the current Minister of State for Labour, Employment And Industrial Relations in Uganda.

Charles Okello Macodwogo Engola, also known as Charles Okello Engola, is a former colonel in the Uganda People’s Defence Force and a politician from Uganda. 

Hon. Col. (Rtd) Okello Charles is the current Minister Of State For Labour, Employment And Industrial Relations as well as the Member of Parliament representing Oyam North county.

Early life and Education

Charles Okello Engola was born on October 12, 1958, in Iceme, Oyam district, to a father Chief (Jago) Nasan Engola and a mother Ketula Engola of Awangi. In Lango, his father was a well-known and admired chief.

Charles Okello-Engola is also the great-grandson of Rwot Olwa Abelli of Iceme and the grandson of Rwot Olong Adilo.

He went to a local primary school. He received his high school certificate from Soroti Secondary School in Soroti District, the Eastern Region of Uganda, according to his profile on the website of the Ugandan parliament. 

He received a Bachelor of Development Studies, his first degree from Kampala International University (KIU) in 2010. In 2013, he also graduated from KIU with a Master’s in Public Administration and Management.

Career and Professional Work Experience

charles okello engola mp oyam north

As an NRM political party candidate, Engola successfully ran for the Local Council 5 (LCV), Oyam District Council Chairmanship, during the 2006 presidential elections. In a landslide victory, he received 93 per cent of the votes and thus emerged as the overall winner. 

He was re-elected in 2011 and held the position of LCV Chair for the Oyam District continuously for ten years. He was elected to parliament in 2016 to serve as the representative for Oyam North.

On June 6, 2016, Charles Engola was named to the post of Minister of State for Defence, taking General Jeje Odongo‘s place, who had been appointed Cabinet Minister for Internal Affairs.

In the 2021 General elections, Okello garnered 22,895 votes and won the Oyam North County Parliamentary representative elections as the NRM candidate.

Achievements and Awards

Charles Okello Engola served in the military and oversaw the UPDF 501 Brigade, which had its headquarters in Opit in the Gulu District. 

The brigade took part in the battle against the Lord’s Resistance Army. In 2007, he retired from the military after being elevated to the rank of colonel.

charles okello macodwogo engola


Due to a lack of necessary academic credentials, the High Court in Lira declared Colonel Charles Okello Engola’s election as the Oyam North Constituency Member of Parliament invalid in 2016.

His main rival Crispus Ayena Odongo was successful in challenging his election on the grounds that a certificate from Air Defense College, Nakasongola, which had been provided prior to his nomination, was invalid because the institution was not one of the colleges listed by the Uganda National Council for Higher Education.

Ayena also disputed inconsistencies in the names appearing on the numerous nomination-related documents Engola supplied. Some records included the letter “P” between them, whereas others did not.

Engola submitted three credentials for consideration: a certificate from the Air Defense College in Nakasongola, an East African Certificate of Education from 1977, and a master’s degree in public administration and management from Kampala International University. All transcripts are listed with Okello Charles P. Engola as the author.

However, Okello Engola claimed he changed his name in 2005 to Okello Charles Engola MacOdwogo without the mentioned “P” in an affidavit he signed to authenticate his paperwork. 

His National Identity Card, which lists his name as Okello Engola Charles MacOdwogo, similarly lacks the letter “P.”

Inquiring as to why the letter “P” was missing from both his December 27, 2005 affidavit for a change of name and his National Identification Card, the presiding Judge Night Percy Ayebazibwe stated that the documents represented two separate people. 

According to her, Engola’s nomination was in violation of Section 4(c) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, which states that an MP must possess S.6 or its equivalent qualifications.

Along with this, the judge criticised Engola for not obtaining a fresh certification letter from the National Council for Higher Education before his nomination in 2015. The last time his papers were certified was on November 22, 2010.

The retired Col. Charles Okello was being looked into by the police in the Oyam district in January 2009 in relation to claims that he killed three heads of cattle that had wandered into his farm.

Okot Araa, the district police commander, claimed that Engola committed the crime in the village of Awangi and immediately informed the police of it. Araa reportedly told the man on the phone to complain that animals were eating his lemons, oranges, and pineapples.

The livestock belonged to KJ Opota, the father of George Ojwang Opota, a councillor for the Lira district’s LC5. According to Araa, Engola is the subject of a criminal investigation. 

He would face charges if investigations revealed that he had done it on purpose. The corpses were brought to the police station to be displayed.

Members of parliament were surprised when the State Minister for Defense, then Col. Charles Okello Egola said that the images of security forces seen on camera whereby the army was hitting journalists and bystanders were fakes from Nigeria. 

The minister claimed that the Ugandan media imported the video and reported that the UPDF is a highly disciplined force that cannot torture those they are supposed to protect. 

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