A Ksh964 million vaccine project advocated for by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Deputy President William Ruto is in limbo months after a foreign company was slated to begin manufacturing vaccines in Kampala.

Appearing before Uganda’s parliamentary committee, former Minister for Science, Technology, and Innovation, Elioda Tumwesigye, seemingly christened the project a white elephant, noting that scientists duped Uganda’s Head of State on the probability of manufacturing drugs locally.

He added that the country was not ready to embark on such an ambitious project as it has not built enough capacity.

“I think what was not fair was giving inadequate information to our Head of State and then he would go to the press and address the nation and promise that maybe in the next few months, next month or weeks we shall have this,” he stated.

“We are still far away at least in manufacturing vaccines, the country needs to build capacity. Taking too long wouldn’t be unexpected, and what so far is being put in place is good because the next time we get a new disease, we know how to handle it. Now our people know the procedure, we need to get technology for some of this work,” he added.

Tumwesigye also expressed disappointment in the scientists behind the project saying that Kampala was working to establish the motives behind giving incorrect information to the Head of State, which was then released to the public.

“I would have wanted to know the motives of the scientists who knew how long it would take to develop something, but would give maybe inadequate information that would then be transmitted to the public,” the former Minister stated.

The probe had been sanctioned by the Parliamentary committee, which sought to establish the viability of the project. According to Ugandan reports, the government had allocated a total of Ksh964 million to fund the research.

Museveni, flanked by DP Ruto, had toured Wakiso District, Uganda in July 2021, during the laying of the foundation stone for the construction of the vaccine manufacturing facility. The project was aimed at manufacturing the vaccines in Uganda and to be sold on a global scale.

Further, the Deputy President was on the spot after he admitted to facilitating a Ugandan investor, a Ksh15 billion loan to cater to the project.

“The investor of that factory came to this office and sat on the same seat where you are seated two years ago and asked if I could connect them with a local bank.”

“I picked the phone, called the bank and told them that ‘there is an investor in my office and because you have a branch in Uganda, can you help him set up the business he wants? So when the individual succeeded and got a Ksh15 billion loan and proceeded to put up the company, where is the problem if I am invited for the launch?” the DP posed during a past media interview.

The local bank, however, issued a statement denying the reports.