By Steven Candia
The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), effective March, will begin transferring its airforce wing to Nakasongola district.
President Yoweri Museveni had earlier expressed unease with the air force being located in Entebbe and urged the leadership to relocate it from Entebbe. He said it was congested there.
Speaking on Friday during the pass out of 23 air force men and women at the air force headquarters in Entebbe, the President expressed delight upon learning that the air wing of the army will finally move.
The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Edward Katumba Wamala, had in an earlier speech mentioned that the wing would move.
“I am happy to hear that now you are planning to move the air base to Nakasongola,” Museveni said.
“A lion stays in the wilderness, not in town. If you see a lion staying in town, that means it is in a zoo. It is only proper that you move to Nakasongola,” he added, drawing cheers from hundreds of soldiers at the function.
The President said the move to shift the air wing had been decided by a number of factors, among them, the need to avert accidents, like military crafts colliding with passenger planes.
The Nakasongola air base was built in the 1970s by then president of Uganda, Iddi Amin, as the headquarters of the air force and has since undergone a major facelift.
Museveni unveiled a monument erected at the headquarters in remembrance of seven airmen who perished in the August 2012 chopper crash on Mount Kenya.
He also commissioned a refurbished office block. Museveni lauded Russia for its support, saying the country has had a long history of standing by African countries in their struggles.
More than a dozen flight engineers, technicians and systems administrators graduated after receiving training on the Sukhoi jets SU 30MK2 simulator, built by Russians.
“I am very happy with the Russians because they do not mix their politics with other people’s politics. They just do what we agree on, unlike other people who want to tell you what to do in your home,” he said in a veiled reference to some western countries.
Museveni has lately come under pressure from the western world after declaring that he will assent to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Some countries, among them the US, have warned that the move will strain their hitherto good relations