Capt. George Buga Andruga, who survived the helicopter crash, is welcomed by his wife in Entebbe on Friday. PHOTOS BY MARTIN SSEBUYIRA
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Members of Parliament have demanded that President Museveni address the nation on the helicopter crash that killed seven Ugandan soldiers and damaged three MI-24 helicopters on August 11, in Kenya. The Lawmakers described as “casual” the way government has handled the tragedy and wondered why government has even failed to announce a day of mourning.
Ms Betty Nambooze (Mukono), Mr Abdu Katuntu (Bugweri), Mr Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga) and Mr Barnabas Tinkasimire (Buyaga) while addressing the media said President Museveni must come out sooner than later to explain the crash and what caused it.
They also want government to declare a special mourning period for the seven air force soldiers who died in the crash. “The war in Somalia wasn’t imposed on us. We chose to go there and deployed our troops but since then as Parliament, we have never received any progress report. I think it is time we get it now,” said Mr Katuntu.
They also promised to move under Parliament rule 39 of notice of urgent question when Parliament resumes next week and ask the Minister of Defence questions on the status of Somalia war. They promise to demand for a full list of all troops in Somalia and how many have died or sustained injury.
The President’s spokesperson, Mr Tamale Mirundi when contacted said: “President Museveni knows when to address the country and when not. He doesn’t need them to remind him neither does he need their advice. They should know he can’t just wake up and address before enough information is gathered,” Mr Mirundi said.
Three of the four helicopters that were on their way to war-torn Somalia, crashed on Sunday on Mt. Kenya. Twenty one of the 28 soldiers survived. “Why would the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima call cameras while flagging off? Whose public relations was he doing? In whose interests and whose accountability did he want but to put our children in harm’s way?” said Ms Nambooze.
After the crash President Museveni appointed a team chaired by his young brother, Gen Salim Saleh, to probe the crash. The MPs have, however, called on the President to drop Gen. Salim Saleh, saying he was implicated in the report on junk helicopters.