Veteran opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye has laughed at transport and works minister Gen Katumba Wamala for heading a delegation to receive an aircraft from France, years after President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s brother Gen Caleb Akandwanaho aka Salim Saleh and in-law Sam Kutesa were said to have had a hand in the ruining part of the Uganda Airlines venture.
Minister Katumba led a delegation of about 30 officials that flew to Toulese to receive Uganda Airlines’ Airbus A330-800neo.
The aircraft is the smaller version of the A330 model, which was refurbished.
Uganda is now the first country on the African continent to operate the Airbus A330-800neo.
Uganda Airlines will get another Airbus next month.
The airline will the start routes from Entebbe International Airport to London, Dubai and Guangzhou.
Now, Besigye has wondered how ‘shameless’ Gen Katumba could have been to agree to lead of delegation of 30 people to “receive a new aeroplane!”
Besigye compared Uganda Airlines with Ethiopian Airlines and argued that Kampala’s extravagance would not let it run a profitable airline.
“Uganda Airlines has a fleet of four Bombardiers only; the 30 people [have received] the 5th (Airbus330) from France,” noted Besigye.
“Ethiopian Airlines has 128 aircraft, with 47 on order – including 10 Airbus350, much bigger than A330! If Ethiopian Airlines behaved like Uganda Airlines, it wouldn’t exist today.”
Besigye also castigated the Museveni administration for sinking Uganda Airlines and predicted doom for the revived business.
“Uganda Airlines started operations in 1977 (under Gen Idi Amin); it was looted by NRM/Museveni Junta and eventually wound up in 2001. Its most lucrative assert, the ground-handling business was taken over by Gen Salim Saleh, Minister Sam Kutesa et al,” continued Besigye.
“The “revived” airline is starting its journey on very familiar ground that killed its namesake.”