Ugandan government has apologized to its citizens who were inconvenienced by Entebbe road closure following diplomatic visits of two heads of state.
The two-day blockade of Entebbe Road and other city roads due to the visiting South Korean leader Park Geun-Hye and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have left Kampala city and neighbouring Entebbe Town in heavy traffic snarl-ups with hundreds missing flights, and many others unable to get to their offices.
Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo on Saturday while appearing on Capital Gang, a political talk show aired on a local radio said: “Apologies to the more than 250 people who vie Entebbe route. Government is sorry to people of inner Kampala and Entebbe for the inconvenience caused by the visiting presidents.”
According to him, these visits were bilateral among the three countries.
“The visits are meant to enhance trade between Uganda and Turkey and Uganda and South Korea,” he said.
Pictures circulating on social media showed passengers with luggage on boda-bodas as they rush to catch various flights.
Some were seen walking to the airport because at some sections, motorcycles and cars had been banned.
On May 26, the police had issued a statement indicating roads that would be closed and asked motorists heading to Entebbe International Airport to plan their journeys well in time to avoid inconveniences.
Passengers missed their flights
Joyce Mcharo, the Kenya Airways country manager, is quoted to have said they had to keep a flight waiting on Sunday.
“We can, however, only hold the flight for a short while because of the connections some other passengers would have to make in Nairobi,” she said.
Kenya Airways has five daily flights into Entebbe – the highest among airline operating through Entebbe International Airport.
“Unfortunately, some of the people missed their flights yesterday (Sunday). We could only wait for so long. At some point you have to shut the doors,” she added.
Any flight missed often results into a $50 (Shs170,000) fine if a passenger is to be booked on another flight. The cost is incurred by the passenger.
Entebbe, the country’s only International Airport houses six major airlines daily including – Kenya Airways, Rwanda Air, Qatar Airways, Emirates Airlines, Fast Jet and Fly Dubai, among others.
No airline recorded any flight cancellations on Sunday due to the road closures, but several reported cases of passengers missing their flights.