President Idi Amin of Uganda commissioned a new 12,000 foot (3,600 m.) runway at Entebbe International Airport on Monday (24 January).
President Idi Amin of Uganda commissioned a new 12,000 foot (3,600 m.) runway at Entebbe International Airport on Monday (24 January). It was the first major function General Amin had attended during the six days of celebrations marking the first anniversary of the coup which brought him to power.
The celebrations were due to reach their climax on Tuesday, the anniversary day itself, with a military parade through the capital, Kampala.
The airport ceremony was watched by Crown Prince Asfa Wassen of Ethiopia, ministers from Lesotho and Sudan, and delegations from Egypt, Liberia and the Soviet Union.
Afterwards Uganda Air Force pilots put on an aerobatic display, and General Amin presented the pilots with their "wings".
SYNOPSIS: As Uganda continued its six days of festivities marking the first anniversary of the coup which brought him to power, President Idi Amin travelled to Entebbe on Monday for an important event in the celebrations.
The occasion was the opening of a new 12-thousand foot runway at Entebbe International Airport; its inauguration was deliberately timed to coincide with the celebrations marking the first full year of the Second Republic. It was on January 25 last year that General Amin headed the nearly-bloodless coup which toppled former President Milton Obote.
The new runway forms part of a plan to bring Entebbe up to the highest standards as an international airport. As well as the runway, the first phase of the scheme includes the building of a new control tower and the installation of the most modern navigation equipment.
After cutting the tape to open the new runway, President Amin relaxed as pilots of the Ugandan Air Force gave a spectacular display of aerobatics in the Soviet-built MiG fighters and French-made Fouga fighters.
Among the distinguished guests - Crown Prince Asfa Wassen of Ethiopia.
Also taking part were L-29 Delfin fighter-trainers built in Czechoslovakia. After the display President Amin presented "wings" to the pilots who had taken part. He said the display had shown Uganda's armed forces were controlled by Uganda and not by foreigners.
The day ended with a march-past, a foretaste of the much bigger military parade due to take place in Kampala the following day.