Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in his visit to Kenya left journalists in stitches when he openly asked his host to explain what happened to Webuye Pan Paper company.
Museveni who was replying to a question from a journalist on the dwindling economy of Uganda slightly went off the topic and asked about the predicament the once Africa’s largest paper manufacturing factory.
The president, who showed a good understanding of the location of the factory said he was concerned that his country was using millions of shillings annually to buy papers from Finland yet Pan Paper used to provide the products at a relatively fair price.
“There used to be a paper miller in a place called Webuye on your way to Bungoma, I used to pass there when going to university, I don’t know what happened to that paper miller?
posed Museveni as he suggestively stared at President Uhuru for an answer.
Shocked by the sudden question, Uhuru replied quickly to cover up the lingering dilemma
“It collapsed, it is when we are trying to revive it,” Uhuru replied hesitantly.
East Africa’s longest-serving president wondered why he was purchasing papers from Finland where a tree needs over 120 years to grow unlike in his country where it only needs seven years.
“I am spending 130 million dollars buy papers in Finland which is so cold that a tree takes 120 years to grow unlike in Uganda where a pine tree takes only seven years … but I am buying from Finland; why not buy it in Webuye?”
The NRM leader heightened the drama when he sarcastically took on youthful journalist during the presser challenging her to be more concerned about her continent than embracing Western culture.
According to his analysis, the journalist appeared young and less knowledgeable about Africa’s history and economic trajectory.
“I am sure before your father was born, I saw a paper mill at a place a called Webuye, would you have heard of Webuye? Because this one is digital, they don’t know anything about Africa they know everything about Europe and the south pole and north,”
he said amidst laughter from the audience present.
He further confronted East African Heads of state to come together and work towards developing the economy of the region.