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Uganda Airlines Board Of Directors’ Competence Questioned

Cabinet recently approved the board of directors for Uganda National Airlines Company Limited.  The board of seven directors will be chaired by Ahabwe Godfrey Pereza, a former MP for Rubanda East Constituency and Minister of State for Local Government.  

Director of Transport at Ministry of Works and Transport, Benon Kajuna will represent Ministry of works and Transport while Godfrey Ssemugooma will represent Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. 

Other members are Catherine Asinde Poran and Rehema N. Mutazindwa, the two female nominees are from private sector while Charles Hamya and Stephene Aziku Zua are also members of the board.  

However, aviation experts and industry players Business Focus has talked to say that none of the board members is well conversant with the aviation industry.

Sources say out of experts and technocrats that were part of the process to revive the national airline, only Stephene Aziku Zua was retained on the board although some referred to him as “low-profile’ to fit on the board.

Critics go on as far as predicting doom for the newly revived and launched Uganda airlines on grounds that the national airline can’t thrive with poor governance practices right from the onset.

Aviation players who spoke on condition of anonymity question the criteria Monicah Azuba, the Minister of Works and Transport and her colleague Aggrey Bagiire, State Minister of Works used in selecting the board members.

“That BoD (Board of Directors) is simply a joke; it’s just a rubberstamp of top officials,” a source who has been part of the taskforce to revive the national airline told Business Focus.

 “Airline business is not like an ordinary business. For one to be on the BoD, they must been in the [aviation] industry for some time. None of them (BoD members) has been part of the industry,” the source said, adding that it is unlikely Uganda airlines will commence commercial flights next month.

Another source claimed that one of the BoD members is being investigated by the Inspectorate of Government for allegedly taking a bribe of Shs200m.

“There are many Ugandans who understand aviation industry (who should sit on that BoD),” the source said, adding that politics at play won’t allow the national airline to succeed.

“An independent research body should have been given the mandate of head-hunting competent BoD members,” a source suggested.

Recently Government Chief Whip, Ruth Nankabirwa said that the seven nominees were selected on the basis of experience and ability to oversee the revival of the national airline.

She particularly praised Ahabwe as having the needed qualifications of a chairperson, following his tenure in parliament, in the executive as well as in the academia.         

Nankabirwa said that cabinet is very confident that the proposed BoD will ensure that the national airline becomes a viable entity as projected in the business plan.

The board will is expected to appear before the parliamentary appointments committee for approval.

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