President Museveni greeting some of the budding pilots at Entebbe

Members of Parliament have asked the Minister of Works and Transport, Monica Ntege Azuba, to reconstitute Uganda Airlines board of directors, in order to achieve ‘regional balance.’

The newly appointed board of directors includes former state minister for local government Perez Ahabwe, Rehema Mutazindwa, Catherine Asinde, Charles Hamya, Steven Aziku Zuwa, Benon Kajuna and Godfrey Semugooma.

The legislators accused government of overlooking the aspect of regional balance in the appointments, adding that most of the board members do not have relevant experience in aviation. Kasilo MP Elijah Okupa said many of those appointed have qualifications in accounting, as opposed to aviation.

“The CV of the chairperson does not fall in the required experience and qualification,” Okupa said Odonga Otto, Aruu County MP, said the selection was done in violation of the objectives of the Constitution, which promotes regional balance.

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He added that there are other citizens with practical experience in aviation who deserve to lead the airlines, citing former MP Captain John Otekat.

Jacob Oboth, the West Budama South MP, advised Government to heed the Parliamentary resolution, which is to establish the airline by an Act of Parliament, as a means of addressing some of the issues raised by MPs.

He added that establishing the national carrier by an Act of Parliament would ensure sustainability and stability. The legislators asked Azuba to explain why the board was appointed before the names were sent to the Parliament for approval.

“It has come to our knowledge that the minister has not followed the Parliamentary resolution. We have a board which has not been approved as directed by this House,” Okupa informed the House.

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In May, this year, Parliament passed a supplementary budget of shs280b for the first batch of six Bombardier CRJ 900 aircrafts. The budget was passed with resolutions, such as ‘presentation of the board of directors of the airlines before the relevant committee for scrutiny and subsequent approval.’

During the plenary, Azuba defended their decision, saying the selection was made based on experience and qualifications of successful candidates in transport, planning, business administration, financial management, legal and aviation fields. First deputy Primier Gen. Moses Ali, urged MPs to promote unity. Uganda Airlines is expected to start operations next month.