PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni yesterday paid tribute to seven State House staff who perished together with Sudanâ€™s first Vice-President Lt. Gen. John Garang in a grisly helicopter accident last Saturday.
At this sombre and most sorrowful time, I wish to pay tribute to our deceased State House staff. Col. Peter Nyakairu, the pilot, Capt. Paul Kiyimba, the co-pilot, Maj. Patrick Kiggundu, the flight engineer, Lt. John Munanura, the jet officer, Mr. Samuel Bakowa, the protocol officer, Cpl. Hassan Kiiza, a PGB signaler and Ms. Lillian Kabaije, the flight attendant passed away in the very unfortunate helicopter crash on July 30.
The ill-fated helicopter, on a mission to transport the Vice-President of Sudan, Lt. Gen. John Garang back to Sudan, was recently overhauled and had served us well for the last eight years. It was airworthy and met all the conditions for flying at the time it crashed. Investigations are being held into what could have led to the fateful crash, that resulted into the loss of our dear ones.
Death has robbed the nation of energetic and patriotic citizens, in spite of their varying ages. We shall, in Col. Peter Nyakairu, greatly miss the service of a dedicated man, whose vast experience with aircraft was a great asset to the nation.
Nyakairu had flown the Presidential helicopter for a long time, and I always had confidence in his skills. Kiyimba was one of our countryâ€™s long-serving pilots, with proven experience. Kiggundu was one of the finest and most trained flight engineers Uganda had.
Munanura was a young, hardworking and professional PGB soldier, while Bakowa had distinguished himself as a dedicated and hardworking Foreign Service and Protocol officer. He was always enthusiastic at his work and jovial at all times.
Corporal Kizza was a young PGB soldier, efficient at his work as signaler. Ms. Kabaije, a pleasant personality, has died at a tender age, when her career as an air hostess was just budding. They died serving their nation, and for that, we thank them, posthumously.
State House and indeed the whole nation has lost some of the most dedicated, diligent and hardworking people, whose legacy will live on. The service they rendered shall always be appreciated. We shall greatly miss them.
We share in the grief of the families of the deceased, and pray the Almighty God to comfort and sustain you with His grace at this most difficult time.
May God rest their souls in eternal peace.
Yoweri Kaguta Museveni,
President of the Republic of Uganda
President salutes fallen Ugandans