The Chinese government has reacted angrily following media reports that it planned to take over Uganda’s international airport.
For past week, Ugandan media has been awash with details of a Chinese loan contract said to be highly unfavorable to Uganda.
The genesis of the mess is that in 2015, the Ugandan government obtained a $325m loan from Exim Bank of China for the expansion works on Entebbe International Airport, about 45m outside the capital Kampala.
However, as upgrade work is still ongoing, the contract recently leaked to Ugandan media. It is reported that 13 clauses in the contract amount to Uganda mortgaging the airport.
The most troubling for the aviation bosses was a clause that gave Exim Bank the sole authority to approve withdraws of funds from the UCAA accounts, according to The East African.
The bank also had the power to approve annual and monthly operating budgets, which it could reject, and the rights to inspect the government and UCCA books of accounts. The China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) in Beijing also had the mandate to resolve disputes.
Ugandan opposition politicians and social media have exploded since the scandal broke. However government ministers said there was no cause for alarm and China had not taken anything from Uganda.
The Chinese embassy in Kampala this Friday posted on its Twitter account comments from Beijing, indication perhaps a response to flood of media requests for comment.
“Why is money offered by Western countries to developing countries considered ‘assistance for development’, while the money offered by China is labelled as ‘debt trap’? This view is NOT logic or correct!”, said Wu Jianghao, China’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Wu Peng, Director-General of the Foreign Ministry Department of African Affairs, said: “Which of the Chinese projects in Africa have been confiscated in Africa? NONE! The hype surrounding Chinese ‘debt trap’ in Africa have NO factual basis and is being pushed on malicious grounds”.