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Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni flies economy class

Queen Elizabeth II (left) and Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni (right)
Yoweri Museveni (right) was returning from a Commonwealth meeting

There have been mixed reactions in Uganda to the news that President Yoweri Museveni flew economy class on a commercial airline over the weekend.

The ruling party welcomed his move which his spokesman said was to show an example to complaining civil servants that economy class should be used.

But the BBC's Joshua Mmali in the capital Kampala says many Ugandans see his trip as a publicity stunt.

He says a second presidential jet was bought last year, amid opposition.

According to presidential spokesman Tamale Mirundi, the president flew economy class from London to Entebbe on Sunday.

If the president can travel economy class, it is an indication that spending colossal sums of money by government officials on business and first class is going to stop
Tamale Mirundi
Presidential spokesman

He was returning from a two-week trip away where he attended the Commonwealth meeting in Trinidad and Tobago.

"He was treated like other passengers," Mr Mirundi told Uganda's state-owned New Vision newspaper.

"If the president can travel economy class, it is an indication that spending colossal sums of money by government officials on business and first class is going to stop," he was quoted as saying.

"He wanted to find out the difficulties travellers face in flying economy class and why government officials complain about the economy class."

Mr Mirundi told the AFP news agency that Mr Museveni wanted to "to cultivate a new feeling among civil servants".

However, Transparency International's Robert Lugolobi in Uganda doubted the president's gesture to clamp down on government spending and corruption, reports the local Daily Monitor newspaper .

"For a man who has two jets for his official travels, once in a while to move in economy class, is that news?" he is quoted as saying.



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