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State of Lukaya Military Airfield Appalling

At least 200 acres of land at the airfield has been taken over by Lukaya Town Council and allocated to private individuals. About 80 acres of these host Lukaya Health centre III, a market, a primary school and a football pitch popularly known as Bulakati playground. Part of the land also hosts a graveyard.
The potholed once runway in shambolic Lukaya Military airfield.

Audio 2

Lukaya Military Airfield is in disrepair after being neglected for close to 40 years.

The airbase, gazetted and commissioned in 1969, is located in Bulakati, Lukaya Town Council, Kalungu district. Sitting on 460 acres of land, the airfield was used as a military training base for paratroopers between 1969 to 1979.

It was the centre of deadly fighting between Tanzania and Ugandan forces during the Uganda-Tanzanian War that led to the overthrow of Idi Amin's regime in 1979. It's at this point that Iddi Amin had stationed heavy fighter jets and highly trained paratroopers that dealt heavy casualties to Tanzanian forces.

However, despite its historical significance, Lukaya Military Airbase is no more.

At least 200 acres of land at the airfield has been taken over by Lukaya Town Council and allocated to private individuals. About 80 acres of these host Lukaya Health centre III, a market, a primary school and a football pitch popularly known as Bulakati playground. Part of the land also hosts a graveyard.

The runway of Lukaya Military Airfield is now pathway for residents going to and from Kalungu district through Lukaya Town Council.

Hajji Edirisa Kigozi, one of the elders in Lukaya says the airfield functioned for at least ten years before it was deserted. Kigozi, who was in Primary Six when the airfield was commissioned, told Uganda Radio Network that following the collapse of the Amin regime, the airfield was never attended to.

Kigozi says that due to its idleness, Lukaya Town Board then approved establishment of public facilities on this land. He says because he was a soccer lover, he spearheaded the establishment of a football pitch on the land.

// Cue in: " It was 1969…

Cue out: …the airfield twice."//

What is left at the airfield is small detach occupied by Uganda Peoples Defense Forces Soldiers. This detach has five grass thatched huts.

Former Lukaya Town Council Chairman Boddy Kiddu Ssali says several acres of Lukaya airfield land were allocated to businessmen based on the 1972 land reform decree which gave powers to local governments' to take over public land.

Ssali says that over 2,000 people applied for plots which were given out to a few successful applicants at a cost ranging between 1-5 million Shillings

// Cue in: "Kyakosa dda ekitundu…

Cue out: …baba trainingira wo."//

Uganda Radio Network has seen minutes of the meeting between Lukaya Town Council and Military Land Board which agreed that residents should be allowed to use part of this land.

In the minutes of the meeting convened on September 12 2011, James Mutabaazi, the Secretary Military Land Board who stood in for Maj Gen Joram Mugume, the Chairman Military Land Board noted that the airfield had not been used for a very long time prompting massive encroachment.

But Lt. Rwemijuma Ninsiima, the Spokesperson of Masaka Armored Brigade which owns a military detach' at Lukaya Airfield says although it looks neglected, UPDF still actively uses it. Rwemijuma says Uganda Peoples Defense Forces still conducts military activities at the airbase land.