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Museveni Says Uganda’s Shs 40 Trillion Debt is not Worrying, Threatens to ‘Do Something’ about ‘Evil’ Daily Monitor Newspaper

Finance Minister Kasaija: Uganda's Debt Sustainable; Not Worrying

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Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, has once again described The Daily Monitor as an “evil” newspaper and vowed to deal with the publication if it does not change.

Speaking at Kampala Serena Hotel after finance minister Matia Kasaija had read the 2018-19 national budget, Museveni castigated The Daily Monitor over a story on how worrying Uganda’s debt is.

In the story, Daily Monitor had said it would take Uganda over nine decades to clear her public debt.

“There are evil papers like the Monitor. Red pepper, those are just stupid. There is a difference between stupidity and evil,” said Museveni.

“They have been talking about debt-GDP ratio. That Uganda is so indebted.”

Minister Matia Kasaija
Minister Matia Kasaija

Earlier, Minister Kasaija had said that Uganda’s outstanding public debt of $10.53bn (over Shs 40.5tn) was sustainable.

About Shs 27.5tn ($7.18bn) of this figure is external debt, while about Shs 12.9tn ($3.35bn) is domestic debt.

“The ratio of Public debt to GDP now stands at 38.1 percent in nominal terms; this is much lower than the threshold of 50 percent beyond which public debt becomes unsustainable,” said Kasaija.

It was this figure that Museveni based on to bash The Daily Monitor for saying that “we are becoming so indebted that even our children will die paying debts”.

“That [debt] talk by [Daily] Monitor, the paper owned by Aga Khan who is making a lot of money here, must stop,” said the president.

“Otherwise, I will do something about it.”

Museveni and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. PPU Photo
Museveni and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga. PPU Photo

Government has previously closed both The Daily Monitor and The Red Pepper.

In 2013, both publications were closed over a story in which former spy chief Gen David Tinyefuza (Sejusa) claimed there was a plot to assassinate senior government officials opposed to an alleged scheme by Museveni to have his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba succeed him.

In 2002, government closed down Daily Monitor for eight days over a story on the alleged shooting down of a military helicopter by rebels in Northern Uganda.

Government also froze advertising to the independent daily from 1993 to 1997 over critical reporting.

And just last year, government closed Red Pepper for two months over a story on Rwanda-Uganda relations.

Museveni would later meet the tabloid’s directors and editors, ‘forgive’ them and hand them copies of his Sowing the Mustard Seed book.

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