President Yoweri Museveni has vowed to defend his embattled Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Monica Musenero who is currently being investigated by parliament.
He revealed this shortly after the Minister of Finance, Planning, and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija presented the 2022/2023 financial year budget estimates at the Kololo Ceremonial Grounds Tuesday.
The speaker of parliament appointed a select committee to investigate allegations by the Ntungamo Municipality MP, Yona Musinguzi against the minister for alleged mismanagement of funds allocated to the Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics (PRESIDE) for Covid-19 vaccine development.
Musnguzi accused Dr. Musenero of lying to the president that Uganda can develop a COVID-19 vaccine.
Last week, the select committee led by Xavier Kyooma, the Ibanda North Constituency MP found that the process of developing a local vaccine was marred with irregularities.
The committee discovered that over Sh 3.4 billion that was allocated to PRESIDE could not be accounted for.
Despite this, Museveni says that he will defend the minister who is a decorated and a world-renowned scientist.
Museveni told legislators and invited guests at the budget reading that he will defend the minister until everyone against her will be forced to go into hiding.
Museveni noted that the work scientists like Dr. Musenero are involved in is supposed to lead to major breakthroughs in science and technology that will lead to big developments in the country.
This is not the first time the president has warned people where Dr. Musenero is concerned.
In November last year, during the Science, Technology, and Innovation exhibition at Kololo, Museveni who sounded furious cautioned anyone behind the attacks on ‘his decorated scientist.’ In earlier interviews with Uganda Radio Network, Dr. Musenero maintained her innocence, claiming she is being witch-hunted for refusing to pay bribes in the vaccine treatment and development process.
The doctor has also insinuated that the country’s work to start vaccine manufacturing has been frustrated by big pharmaceutical companies. “The truth will set me free. I have not stolen any government funds and my conscience is free. The President knows what work we are doing and has faith in it,” Dr. Musenero said.
According to Dr. Musenero, the three vaccine candidates are undergoing trials at the moment while one therapeutic treatment has already proven to be effective in treating COVID-19.