Rugunda: Remembering the Legacy of Nelson Mandela

By Prof Wasswa Balunywa

I have been teaching change for some time and now and again you anticipate the change and at times it hits you without knowing.

British Airways has announced its flight plans to Entebbe. Starting October, cheap visit they will no longer fly a direct flight to Entebbe which has been 3 to 5 times a week.

The company that BA succeeded was the first one to land in Entebbe years back. It is said possibly in 1940s. Today, stuff diagnosis BA is pulling out of the market it started. What are the causes of these?

BA says the route is not profitable. Of course it is not primarily because there is not much trade anymore between the United Kingdom and Uganda.

The world has changed. The trade is between Asian countries and African countries. It is not surprising therefore that Emirates has a daily flight so has Qatar so has Etihad.

Ethiopian has three flights a day into Entebbe not because of trade but because of it has a marketing gain to link Ugandans to different parts of the world so does Kenya airways. It too links Ugandans to various countries and various markets. It has four flights into Entebbe every day.

The change in nature of business has seen industries relocate from Europe to Asia. Today, china is the world’s factory that is where everything is produced today.


Dubai has been the world’s distributor of goods especially for Africa and the Middle East. Dubai also launched a tourism strategy that has attracted tourists to it making tourism one of the biggest sources of revenues to Dubai.

Countries like Egypt with traditional tourist sites have not matched Dubai’s strategy despite their centrality in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

That is a result of lack of strategy because Egypt could fly people and goods more easily to the United States, Europe and Asia from Africa than Dubai does. But it is possible; the strategists in Egypt have not seen this potential.

They would be competing favorably with emirates. British airways flies daily to Nairobi with a bigger capacity plane because there are more Britons in Kenya and there are a lot of British owned businesses in Kenya.

Uganda lost British businesses in 1972 when Amin ordered foreigners out of the country many relocated to Nairobi. It is easier to manufacture from Kenya that in Uganda. As a result business has never returned to Uganda.

It is therefore viable for British airways to fly into Nairobi. Besides Kenya has a bigger tourist market and therefore BA ferries many Britons to Kenya. It cannot therefore get out of the Kenyan market that easily.

The other reason why BA s leaving Uganda, it is something that possibly looks far-fetched. As a British colony, every Ugandan who wanted to go abroad preferred Britain.

Indeed the migrants from most African countries many of whom we have seen die in the Mediterranean sea, want to end up in the United Kingdom. This is because London is a more multi-cultural city than other cities in Europe.

However the British economy cannot take up all these migrants and as a result a British visa is not something easy to secure.

Today, if you want a visa from Britain, it is processed either in South Africa or Addis Ababa. Studying in Britain is also not an easy thing. It costs a fortune over shs.100m a year for a Ugandan to study in the United Kingdom.

You can imagine how many people could afford that money. The Visa restriction has also made people hate to use the British Airways for any trip even to Europe.

Adieu British Airways. Times have changed. I used to be a gold card member of the BA. I have been downgraded to blue because I rarely use their airline. It is the shortest route to UK and the US but its flights have not been flexible enough.

Flying through Nairobi will make it slightly expensive and the journey will take much longer.

For a customer with many airlines to choose from, those with the British Airlines tradition will continue to fly BA.

The author is the Vice Chancellor, Makerere University Business Schoool, Kampala

By Dr Ruhakana Rugunda
Prime Minister of Uganda

Last Friday, shop on 24 July 2015, online I was honored to join the world at the UN headquarters in New York in observing and paying tribute to Nelson ‘Madiba’ Mandela, a global icon and to acknowledge his values to the service of humanity.

We also witnessed the award of the inaugural Nelson Mandela Prize to two distinguished people; Dr Helena Ndume of Namibia, and the former President of Portugal Jorge Sampaio.

Dr Ndume, an eye doctor has dedicated most of her life treating thousands of her people suffering from blindness.

Former President Sampaio has shown long standing commitment to democracy, human rights and peace.

The event which was convened by the President of the UN General Assembly, our very own, Sam Kutesa was a highly regarded moment that brought all of us to stop and reflect about the man, Nelson Mandela.

The symbolism of the day was a call to action to all of us to follow in the footsteps of this remarkable man who transformed his life, served his country South Africa and freed his people.

What we each can learn from Nelson Mandela’s life seems almost limitless.  The most prominent characteristics of Nelson Mandela are strength of spirit, integrity, honor, and leadership. The strength of spirit allowed him to endure 27 years of imprisonment.

His courage and selfless actions brought knowledge to many who were unaware of the struggle in South Africa and the huge human toll that it took.

He was willing to sacrifice his freedom, his dignity the safety of his family and never compromised his beliefs and willingness never to give up the fight.

In 1994 President Mandela showed his incredible ability to lead a nation once so divided.

Mr Mandela’s remarkable story holds valuable lessons for us all.  He sacrificed deeply and nobly.  He was truly a transformational leader in many ways. On the diplomatic front, he worked as a mediator in Burundi.

One of his most personal missions was to raise awareness about AIDS.  He used his stature to bring attention to other causes, from poverty to education.

There are not many men or women in recent times that have left such an indelible imprint and impact that they are remembered, honored and celebrated by nations near and far long after they depart.

In one of his famous quotes, Nelson Mandela said and I quote; ‘We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right’.

The light that Madiba shared should serve as an inspiration for fairness, justice and hope for all deprived, poor and oppressed people from every corner of the world.

In this regard, I salute our brother, Sam Kutesa, as President of the UN General Assembly for his leadership and the member states for the work undertaken in the three interlinked processes; the post-2015 development agenda, financing for development and climate change, which will define the global development path for the next fifteen years.

We must exert our collective efforts to eradicate poverty, improve livelihoods for all and preserve our planet for the present and future generations. Ndugu Kutesa has done Uganda and Africa very proud.

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