Entebbe, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The long wait to return home ended last night for musician Edrisah Musuuza alias Eddy Kenzo who happily stepped back on Ugandan soil.
Kenzo arrived at 3:30 a.m. aboard a special Uganda Airlines flight, with 64 others from Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire. He had gone to the West African country for a concert in March, shortly before borders we closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus disease.
The music star was among 232 Ugandans and legal residents who arrived in the country last night after four months of being stuck abroad.
The aircraft which was initially expected to land in Entebbe at 9 p.m. delayed by over six hours because of the stopovers in each of the countries where meeting hubs had been gazetted.
Sh5m flight back home
Each passenger paid $1,376, (5 million Shillings) for the airfare regardless of the pickup point.
Hundreds of Kenzo’s supporters had converged at the airport to receive the musician. But, according to Kenneth Otim, the Principal Public Affairs Officer at Civil Aviation Authority -CAA, the supporters were advised to leave the airport Friday afternoon after they were told that the artist would arrive during curfew hours.
Otim, however, says the supporters would still not be allowed to meet and greet Kenzo because returnees are taken for institutional quarantine after screening at the airport.
We, however, caught up with a few supporters mainly residents within the Entebbe area, who could not control their excitement on the musician’s return.
167 from Qatar
Earlier on, another 167 stranded Ugandans and legal residents returned from Qatar, a week after 238 people arrived from the same location.
The group arrived Friday 5:30 pm at Entebbe International Airport aboard Qatar Airways. The two groups were received by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ambassador Alfred Naam, the spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, says the two groups bring the total number of returnees to 2,154 ever since June 22, when the country started receiving those who got stranded overseas.
“I confirm there is a prominent Ugandan artist who is on board. I thank the Ugandan ambassadors abroad who have done work in registering and mobilising the Ugandans, and also the Ugandans who were stuck because the lockdown was not easy,” said Ambassador Naam.
Some of the people who have since returned include students, expatriates, soldiers, and seniors citizens who had travelled to various countries. All of them have been subjected to a 14-day quarantine before they are allowed to travel to their various destinations.
Ambassador Naam lauded heads of missions abroad for their efforts to see stranded Ugandans return home.
Meanwhile, Naam says that the government is committed to bringing home all the 2,400 stranded Ugandans who got stuck in 66 countries across the world. The initial plan was to bring home an average of 300 people every two weeks for better management of suspects and confirmed cases.
However, an average of 800 returnees has been arriving in the country every two weeks. The flights will resume on August 9, 2020, for returnees in China, The United Arab Emirates and Southern Africa among others. Another group of returnees from in and around East Africa is also expected to travel back by air or road.