A pilot who was in charge of a chartered helicopter for the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga took the wrong route, ending up in a completely different destination than he should have landed.
The pilot identified as Mupaapa Isma was supposed to fly the speaker to Kazo District in Western Uganda.
Kadaga was an invited guest at the thanksgiving ceremony of Molly Kamukama, the former Principal Private Secretary of President Museveni and now State Minister for Economic Monitoring.
However, the pilot somehow found his way landing in Mubende District in Central Region, and later rerouting for Kazo, making the speaker’s arrival to the function an hour late.
Kadaga who has been using choppers from the army and police used the chance to call out the government to provide a chopper specifically for parliament to avoid such issues.
“I voiced out the need to purchase a chopper, which will help MPs execute their oversight role expeditiously. My call was in light of us having had to charter a privately-owned helicopter. Unfortunately, the pilot lost his way and we ended up in Mubende; hence arriving late, in Kazo,” she said.
“The army and police choppers are currently deployed in northeastern Uganda to spray locusts,” she added.
This is not the first time Kadaga is having ‘trouble’ with choppers.
In July 2012, the speaker became a target for criticism when a UPDF chopper she was in landed in the middle of Legends Rugby pitch during an international game between Rugby Cranes and Namibia.
This delayed the game by over 33 minutes, as fans, and players at once looked on in a mixture of confusion and excitement while Kadaga disembarked the chopper in a yellow gomesi.
It was later revealed that the speaker’s intention was not to land at Legends but rather across the road at Kyadondo Rugby grounds.
However, her pilots were misled by the teams managing the rugby event as well as the protocol teams who claimed it was okay for her to land at Legends while the players were in the dressing rooms. Only for her to land while they were already on the pitch.
In January 2017, Parliament mooted plans to acquire a chopper for the speaker citing that it was a shame for the head of one of the three arms of government not to have a helicopter.
“Our concern is that the speaker travels a lot because she is on high demand. People want her to attend their functions. Such a busy office cannot only rely on [land] vehicles. If parliament can buy the office a helicopter, that will be good,” parliament spokesperson Chris Obore said at the time.
Obore, however, claimed the talk of the speaker buying a helicopter was by certain schemers who intended to divert the public from important debates.
In 2018, the plans to get the speaker a chopper was relaunched, with Obore claiming that outsourcing of choppers from police and UPDF was becoming an inconvenience to the Speaker and the security forces.
A technical team led by Jane Kibirige, the clerk to parliament, was asked to study the proposal further and advise the commission accordingly.