Airlines top job given out  before advertised deadline

President Museveni (in white) disembarks from one of Uganda Airlines CRJ900 Bombardiers at Entebbe International Airport in 2019. PHOTO / FILE

What you need to know:

  • Mr Waiswa Bageya,  the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, which supervises the aviation sector, confirmed the news yesterday.

The government yesterday said the process to name Ms Jenifer Bamuturaki as the substantive chief executive officer (CEO) of the Uganda Airlines, is underway.

Mr Waiswa Bageya,  the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, which supervises the aviation sector, confirmed the news yesterday.

 However, on June 27 he had said the search for the Airlines top boss was on.

He said the search would be redone after bid documents were sent to four firms, before settling on PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

“We did not advertise but instead developed a bid document and terms of reference [that were] sent to KPMG, Ernst & Young, PwC and another. We zeroed on PwC,” he said, noting that whereas government would have loved the process to be as fast as possible, there are a number of technical considerations that cannot be rushed. 

According to an advert published in this newspaper on Friday, June 24, interested people were supposed to deliver their applications not later Friday, July 8.

In a July 5 letter titled “Appointment of Ms Jenifer Bamuturaki as a substantive CEO of Uganda Airlines”, and addressed the Airlines’ board chairperson, Works and Transport minister, Gen Katumba Wamala, wrote: “Reference is made to a letter ref. No. P0/28 dated 24th April, 2022 from H.E the President of the Republic of Uganda in regard of the subject matter above. The purpose of this letter is to bring the directive to your attention for implementation.”

Ms Bamuturaki has been the acting CEO of Uganda Airlines after the sacking of Mr Cornwell Muleya in February.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Mr Waiswa Bageya, confirmed the appointment of Ms Bamuturaki.

“It is true. The process is on…. It is a process to appoint the CEO,” Mr Bageya said when contacted yesterday.

Uganda Airlines boss, Jenifer Bamuturaki 

Last month, the Uganda Airlines advertised the job of CEO. The process of selecting and interviewing of applicants by an international firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), is still ongoing.

Asked whether there was other contestants for the job, Mr Bageya said Ms Bamuturaki was the only one.

Captain Francis Babu, an aviation expert, also a former minister, said if she doesn’t have an advisory team, the new CEO will have a tough journey given the stiffness of the airline competition all over the world.  “In my opinion, if they want her to stay there, they should have brought a team of which she would be part. And that team brings our airline into a better skit. I am not saying she shouldn’t be there. What I am saying is we need a better team. We are talking about a very tough industry with a start up in an area you have several airlines and the competition which is very high,” Capt Babu said.

Capt Babu said Uganda should copy what was done in Emirates where they brought a team that does advisory work despite the locals taking up some jobs.

The new boss will be expected to guide formulation and implementation of strategy, commercial, financial, operations, people, stakeholder relationship and compliance management, corporate communications and oversight of information systems.

Uganda Airlines has not had a substantive chief executive officer since it was launched in 2019.

The airline was launched 18 years after it was liquidated, with government appointing Mr Ephraim Bagenda in the initial months as the acting CEO, before he was replaced and appointed as director of engineering and maintenance.

Mr Muleya was the acting chief executive officer having been appointed on contract in October 2019.  However, he was sacked in February after months of suspension and was last week arraigned before court on corruption charges. 

Before his arrest, he had petitioned court, claiming Shs3.3b in compensation over alleged illegal sacking.

The case had been forwarded to the Industrial Court by the Wakiso District labour office after Uganda Airlines had on two occasions, without giving any reason, not appeared for scheduled mediation talks.  On June 22, Mr Muleya was charged with disobeying orders of the Inspectorate of Government after he allegedly didn’t respond to summons related to alleged abuse of office.

In February, the Ministry of Works appointed Ms Bamuturaki, who was the former Uganda Airlines commercial manager, to lead the airline in acting capacity.  Ms Bamuturaki had herself been forced out of the airline after completing her probation.

Mr Muleya had in a document to the President accused her of insider trading in a brief that made a number of accusations on people within the airline, board and outsiders.

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