Ugandan president defends use of jet

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The Independent Online

The Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni defended the cost of using his presidential jet to fly his daughter to Germany to give birth, saying doctors in his country were "partisan" and could not be trusted to treat himself or his family.

"The issue is about security given some of the hostile doctors we have in the medical system here," Mr Museveni said in a seven-page letter published in two Ugandan newspapers yesterday, describing what he called his "survival strategy" against "the criminal forces" in the country.

Responding to criticism from the independent Ugandan newspaper, The Sunday Monitor, over allegations that the flight in August had cost the state $90,000 (£54,000) and was not a worthy use of public money, Mr Museveni insisted he had paid all the medical fees personally and the flight had cost just $27,000.

The President said the decision to fly his daughter, Natasha, and daughter-in-law, who were both heavily pregnant, was against his normal "antipathy to going abroad".

The Sunday Monitor also claimed that the presidential jet had only carried the women one way and that they returned to Uganda first class on British Airways, a claim Mr Museveni insisted was untrue. Mr Museveni's use of public money has come under increasing scrutiny in the media since parliament passed a motion this year requiring him to account for his personal spending.