25TH AUGSUT, 2012
ENTEBBE STATE HOUSE
Dear widows & orphans
Up to now I have nothing to say about this tragedy because I am indignant and disappointed.
We have been painstakingly building the UPFD for the last 42 years. Starting with small numbers, we now have a Force of tens of thousands of officers, fighters and technical cadres backed by millions of reserve fighters or potential fighters. The Air-Force has been built from scratch to a potentially formidable fighting Force. We have done all this at the Uganda Government cost because outsiders never fund armies in Africa, for most of the time, in any decisive way. Yet, some of the actors we have delegated authority over the Army as per the Constitution, once in a while, act negligently or high-handedly resulting in unnecessary losses.
I am eagerly awaiting the outcome of the Gen. Saleh’s team Enquiry effort. In the meantime I cannot listen to stories of bad weather of the Kenya Mountains. Mountains are clearly shown on maps. We never fly over Mountains with helicopters, especially the combat ones. Whenever I am going to Bundibugyo, my pilots always fly around the Rwenzori; they never fly over the Rwenzori. When we operated over the Imatong hills in South Sudan, we used MI-17 which have got a higher ceiling (6,000 metres i.e. slightly above 19,685 ft, depending on the weight of the aircraft). Therefore, Mountains cannot be a factor to serious operators. Weather can also not be accepted as a serious factor. If the weather is bad, you do not fly.
These days the satellites are able to show the nature of weather all over the globe. The MI-17 which was part of the formation is equipped with weather radar. It would have warned the formation so that they could not return to the Nanyuki Air-Force base of Kenya. I believe the Gen. Saleh Enquiry team will give actual truth so that this careless handling of our precious military personnel and equipment stops for ever.
The reason I came here is to assure you, our daughters, the wives of the departed fighters and orphans that UPDF and the Government of Uganda that I head will look after you within the limited means that you know. Do not be anxious on that scope.
I thank you and please accept the most heartfelt condolences of the veterans of the National Resistance Movement headed by myself, the entire fraternity of UPDF, the Government and people of Uganda.
Yoweri K. Museveni