Uganda’s public debt stands at 52.78trillion trillion Uganda shillings according to the report from bank Uganda. In fact, for almost all the parliamentary sittings during the COVID-19 lockdown months, almost all the plenaries had debt as a key item on the order paper. The budget for the financial year 2020/21 that stands at 45.5 trillion shillings has debt repayment as on of the priority areas. This shades light on the discussion about Uganda’s ability to reach her middle-income status and all the other agendas enshrined in National Development Plan (NDP3). With the spike in cases of the deadly virus, fears shoot high in the firmament owing to the escalating debt that could push the country to unsustainable debt levels. It is under such a context that AIIJ and CSBAG partnered together to organize a one-day training for which investigative journalists to expand their knowledge about Uganda’s debt and all the broader dynamics that play into our country’s indebtedness. The key question to navigate through the fellowship is to provide a laser focus to journalists to provide more insight into Uganda’s public debt in the dust of many news making events like politics and others. In addition, the fellowship was aimed at using investigative journalism as a tool for researching on the underlying bottlenecks that hinder efficient and effective debt absorption and management. Facilitators encouraged the selected journalists to weave in depth debt reporting in their journalistic fabric as this would help to cause policy changes that would be targeted to prudent public debt management. The journalists that were selected for this fellowship included: Canary Mugume of Next Media Services, Fredrick Musisi of the Nation Media, and Samuel Sannya of Vision group.
Canary Mugume is an investigative journalist with NBS Television, a Léo Africa Young Emerging Leaders
Samuel Sanya is a Business, Economics and Investigative reporter at the New Vision, Uganda’s leading daily.
Frederic Musisi is a reporter with Nation Media Group where he has written extensively about oil, gas, debt, corruption among others.