President Yoweri Museveni has directed the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) to refund taxes collected from Phiona Mutesi, the subject of the 2016 biographical sports drama film, Queen of Katwe.
Speaking on Saturday at the 18th National Prayer Breakfast at Hotel Africana, Mr Museveni said an unnamed contact in the United States brought the matter of taxes imposed on the movie to his attention and revealed that he has been planning to take action.
Mr Museveni spoke out against URA after the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga introduced the 20-year old Phiona Mutesi to him, with Ms Kadaga showering praises on the rise to world glory by Ms Mutesi- thanks to her talent in chess.
“I have been looking for you. It’s good that you are here,”Mr Museveni told a thrilled Ms Mutesi, who was in the company of her coach, Mr Robert Katende.
“These are the fruits that I have been talking about,”Mr Museveni said, in reference to the theme of the breakfast: “We shall know them by their fruits”, picked from Mathew 7:16.
He added: “I was told you that that because of the high taxes from URA, they were compelled to shoot the remaining part of the movie in South Africa. Shame on URA! I will return to you all the money they took from you.”
The drama film stars David Oyelowo, Lupita Nyong’o and Madina Nalwanga. It depicts Mutesi’s life as a Ugandan chess prodigy from the slum of Katwe becoming a woman candidate master after her performance at World Chess Olympiads.
The movie had its world premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Canada on September 10. Ten days later, Disney held the film’s corporate premiere at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood and is set for its European debut at the BFI London Film Festival tomorrow. It premiered in Kampala last week.