Deal with actual root of Uganda Airlines’ troubles

What you need to know:

  • The issue: Uganda Airlines
  • Our view: While it is undesirable, one of the workable options that might be left for steadily rebuilding Uganda Airlines is handing it over to expatriates. With expatriates or even handing the entire management to a foreign company to run, vultures might be kept at bay.


President Museveni last week revealed how bitter he was with the Sports ministry after Ugandan Olympic-bound team members tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in Japan. The incident was widely reported by the global media, with Uganda tagged as the first country to return a positive test in Tokyo.

The President described the incident as importation of corona and causing national embarrassment. Yet just two days after his revelation, Uganda Airlines found itself exporting embarrassment further when one of its planes had to delay on-ward flight to Entebbe because it could not refuel from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.

The widely reported incident of a Uganda Airlines plane running out of fuel in Tanzania underlines the deep-seated malaise that has been plucking off one feather after another from the national carrier since its revival barely two years ago. While planes need refueling for longer hauls or return journeys, the circumstances leading to the latest embarrassment is what must leave heads rolling.

At some point, there needs to be a call that says “enough is enough.”  The airline’s operations have been caught in the middle of in-fighting over contracts. 

Prior to this national shame, top managers at the airline were in April suspended over mismanagement. And earlier this month, it was revealed that the turbulence rocking the national carrier had forced one of the airline’s four CRJ900 Bombardier jets to be grounded for more than one month due to lack of spares.

These are not isolated incidents. It is increasingly looking like knee-jerk reactions like suspending officials and recalling them or replacing them with similar intrigue-minded ones will not help.

While it is prudent that Ugandans who merit the jobs as has been with the pilots, not narrow considerations as children of the NRA revolution as has been suggested by the Executive, are recruited, the stakes at Uganda Airlines are looking too high for the locals whose value is often at the mercy of petty squabbles.

Should Ugandans continue putting trust in their own running their flag in the skies amid all such feud?

While it is undesirable, one of the workable options that might be left for steadily rebuilding Uganda Airlines is handing it over to expatriates.

Twenty years ago, the national carrier collapsed under the weight of mismanagement by Ugandans. The same Ugandans are at large and only look to gain from the airline at the expense of the nation. With expatriates or even handing the entire management to a foreign company to run, the vultures might be kept at bay.










 


 

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