Saturday, 19 March 2016

ELECTIONS: Mukula dominates Ugandan skies with one chopper, Kenyan politicians import 59!

The chopper that dominated the Ugandan skies in
 the just concluded election

While Captain Mike Mukula single-handedly dominated the Uganda Presidential elections 2016 campaign skies with his one helicopter, Kenya's politicians will show in next year's election that they are in another choppers league.

Kenya's next election is expected to feature up to 50 choppers as politicians crisscross the country for votes.

Those are Kenyan standards. In Uganda, Mukula, the NRM Vice Chairman for the East, was in charge of the 5Y- HKK chopper hired to raise the profile and improve transportation for the party in the just concluded elections.

The chopper, and a drone, dominated the skies at nearly all President Yoweri’s Museveni’s rallies on his way to the election victory.

The same chopper, described as a “king maker” after Dr JP Magufuli of Tanzania also used it in his election win, was in the news for more reasons than one. 

Mukula in Tororo

It even features in the ongoing Presidential Elections Petition, mentioned in a case where petitioner Amama Mbabazi claimed it disrupted his rally.

An article this week in Kenyan daily The Star indicates that at least 59 newly imported helicopters have been issued with operating licenses by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority over the last two years.

“Owning a helicopter is becoming an essential part of demonstrating that you are one of the political big boys. Rightly or wrongly, politicians seem to believe they are going nowhere without a helicopter. The 2017 elections are set to be the most expensive ever.”

Bomet Governor Isaac Rutto and Emurua Dikirr MP 
Johanna Ngeno (in red shirt) alights from a chopper 
during one of their recent campaign rallies in Kenya. 
The Star Photo/File

The article, says “small passenger helicopters cost between Sh100 (Uganda sh3.3billion) and 200 million in Europe or America but the cost of import duties and final assembly in Kenya can easily double the cost to Sh400 million plus (Uganda sh13billion).  The more upmarket Eurocopter EC135 which is also used in Kenya carries 7 passengers for 620 kilometres and costs $3.9 million ( Sh390 million).”

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