President Museveni’s special jet that has cost taxpayers Shs88.2 billion has arrived in the country.
The Gulfstream V was flown into the country last month.
The Weekly Observer has obtained a photograph of the new jet No. N908GA 52008 taken on January 14, this year when it was returning from a pre delivery flight at Long Beach Airport in California.
The President’s Press Secretary, Joseph Tamale Mirundi, confirmed the arrival of the jet in a telephone interview Tuesday morning.
The jet was purchased late last year to replace a Gulfstream IV which was bought at Shs60 billion in 2000. The State House Comptroller, Richard Muhinda, informed a parliamentary committee on presidential affairs that the old jet would be sold at about Shs40 billion.
But Tamale Mirundi told The Weekly Observer this week that selling an aircraft is not like selling an ordinary item.
The planned purchase of another jet became public information in December 2007 when Muhinda and the President’s chief pilot, Maj. Gen. Ali Kiiza, briefed the presidential affairs committee on the state of the old presidential jet.
Opposition MPs protested against spending such as huge amount of money while the old plane was still functioning properly. But the President’s team argued that the new plane would consume less fuel and would be cheaper to repair.
When Museveni came to power in 1986, he often spoke out against African leaders of poor countries who like to ride in presidential jets yet their citizens are infested with jiggers.
“The honourable Excellency who is going to the United Nations in executive jets, but has a population at home of 90% walking barefoot, is nothing but a pathetic spectacle,” he once said.