Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng on Sunday refuted claims that she had been holding a political rally when she was pictured surrounded by people at a gathering that flouted the social distancing rule.
The minister wasn’t wearing a mask as well, which sparked criticism among the public, given the fact that she has over time asked Ugandans to heed health guidelines including wearing masks in public and observing social distance in order to slow the spread of covid-19.
At the beginning of the lockdown, stay-home guidelines led to loss of jobs, pay cuts and closure of businesses. Ugandans were therefore very disappointed to see the Minister of Health flouting the health guidelines issued by the government and explained repeatedly by President Yoweri Museveni and the Minister herself.
But the minister, who has declared her bid to represent Lira District in parliament, says she did not hold a campaign rally.
Below is her statement in full:
My attention is drawn to social media posts of pictures of me meeting crowds with no social distancing and no masks and even alleging that I was holding a political rally.
I would like to reiterate that I was not holding a political rally.
I was launching the distribution of face masks in Aromo Sub county and training people on how to properly use the masks on Friday 10 July 2020.
However, at the time, village health teams (VHTs) and other youth were also being oriented on the processes for distribution of the Long lasting mosquito net distribution near by.
They got excited when they heard about face masks, and specifically the Minister for health whom they call ‘mama Corona’ and rushed to see me. They were difficult to control as seen in the picture as many wanted to take pictures and also get masks from me.
I took time to educate these youth on the same as well as on the face masks. They left as very knowledgeable people appreciating the importance of face masks and social distancing.
As the Minister who is at the helm of the Corona response and an aspiring Woman MP of Lira District, I am cognizant of the rules and guidelines that we as government have put in place.
I continue to appeal to you all to wear your masks, maintain social distance and wash your hands with soap regularly to prevent COVID19.
Dr Jane Ruth Aceng
Minister for Health
12 July 2020.