Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has warned a section of people currently ‘shaking and attacking’ his Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr Monica Musenero to back off, lest they face his wrath.
The audibly furious president spent 10 minutes of his speech during the Science, Technology and Innovation exhibition at Kololo Ceremonial grounds to caution those behind what he termed as an attack on his “decorated scientist”.
Referring to the United States of America law that makes it an offence to attack decorated war generals, the president noted that Dr Musenero is among the scientists that have contributed greatly to the nation citing her role in the fight against Ebola and COVID-19.
Dr Musenero played a great role during the fight against Ebola outbreaks in Uganda. Her name has been shining during the Covid-19 pandemic at the time when she was acting as the presidential advisor on epidemics.
Recently, she has been linked to alleged corruption and embezzlement of Covid-19 funds with whistle blowers petitioning the Inspector General of Government to investigate her. But before the IGG could take action, Ntungamo Municipality MP Yona Musinguzi took the matter before parliament. Deputy Speaker Anita Among promptly appointed a select committee to probe the matter.
Musinguzi, who until recently was Assistant Commissioner in the Ministry of Science, tabled before parliament documentary evidence seeking to implicate Musenero regarding the utilization of funds meant to facilitate the COVID-19 vaccine development under the Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics-PRESIDE.
According to Musinguzi, funds under the PRESIDE programme were channeled to different individual scientists who have allegedly denied receiving the funds. Based on the allegation, Deputy Speaker Among decided to form a select committee to probe the matter.
But before the committee embarks on investigations, President Museveni seems to be smelling a rat around the matter.
The President has also revealed that over time, there have been forces mostly in the ministry of health, against Musenero that have stopped her from being employed in the said ministry despite her proven potential.
He adds when the ministry of health refused to employ her, he decided to offer her a job as his advisor on the epidemics so as to tap into her potential thus vowing that if those who are attacking Musenero are not right, he will personally go for them.
Museveni further added that over time, there has been a section of people who are less productive in his government who have been disturbing their highly productive counterparts, noting that he is looking forward to putting a stop to the practice.
Musenero who is under the spotlight is a veterinarian, microbiologist, and epidemiologist. According to available information obtained from different online sources, she has served as a Ugandan-based Consultant Epidemiologist and Senior Program Officer at the African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET).
In 2011, the same organization promoted her to Regional Epidemiology Director, serving in that capacity until 2013. In 2014, she served as a consultant for the World Health Organisation during the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.
Meanwhile, during the function, President Museveni re-affirmed his unchanging stance on promoting and funding Science, Technology, and Innovation as the key driver that will deliver Uganda to the middle-income status.
For his part, Prof. John David Kabasa, the Principal, College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) who gave a keynote address noted that if Uganda is to promote Science, Technology, and Innovation, there is a need to reintroduce think tanks systems where innovators, scientists, policymakers can meet, engage each other and discuss on particular developments.
To him, the fragmentation of the different categories of people in the production chain has been leaving many innovations made in Uganda nearly useless.
At the same function, the ministry awarded different people for their outstanding innovations most of which have been made during the Covid-19 pandemic. Minister Musenero noted that the awardees are going to be supported to ensure that their innovations are supported to such that they can deliver tangle products that can be used by Ugandans.