By Mpuga Rukidi, Uganda:
I read recently the press reports about what Kenya Airways did to our President and by extension, to our country. Saddening, I must say, and that is to put it as painlessly as I possibly can.
My President wanted to attend the EAC Heads of State Summit. He was at his country home in the South Western part of Uganda. He was really tired from national duty –this if from the pains we suffer in building the nation –you know. He requested Kenya Airways to send a plane to the nearest airfield to where he was and pick him up. The alternative was that he, the good president, drive about 300KM to the country's only international airport. Kenya Airways refused, giving a string of lame excuses – small runway and all. All these excuses meant for the president of an entire republic. The question of why he did not call Uganda's official airline is not for today – today is not dealing with such petty trivia. Okay?!
The Kenyan press quite loved the unfortunate situation. In one cartoon, the president is depicted, round hat on head and rifle slung by the shoulder, in true revolutionary style, calling out to the 'river of the aircraft to come pick him. The driver says, gloatingly of course, “Hi sii boda boda” – This is not boda boda (motorcycle taxi).
That made many patriotic Ugandans like me angry but not half as angry as the response of the president's press team made me. They had no worthwhile response except to deny that the incident ever took place. The Kenyan Parliament did even better, making an inquiry into the incident. Our own MPs have enough problems to worry about. We need to get them back to the house before anything else. Sometime back, the Speaker was in parliament to discuss the issue of their absence from house sessions. She just noticed she was tabling the discussion before an empty house. So we'll leave them out for now.
Back to the president's press team. What are they doing? Who do they think they are? In this age of social media, why just sit back and leave the momentum and tide to go against the good, visionary, all knowing president? Why not, say, release one of his numerous unreleased rap hits to swing the vibe and ask, quite appropriately, who knows the KQ CEO in music circles – and here I mean internationally? Why not remind whoever cares to hear of the immense sacrifices that the visionary has rendered to this region, Africa and the world? Why not take a selfie that he took with one of the lions in our biggest national game parks?
But also, have we not made significant inroads into technology? The engineering department at Makerere University has produced one of the wonders of the modern world – a car. Well, shame on all those who are saying it was just an assemblage of parts. Let KQ also assemble an aircraft and we see it. The students at our glorious university, if they are done with their legendary strikes, can actually make an aircraft that won't have restrictions on where it can and can't land.
I was about to suggest that while the students are assembling another wonder of the world in form of an aircraft, the president's press team should leak his nude pictures and ask any Kenya Airways staff to replicate the feat. That would be the end of the damn incident. But I won't. I won't suggest that. Alternatively, the entire press team can be fired and I, a man of vision just like my president, can be hired to do their job. We need new ideas. We really do need new ideas.
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