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Arua politicians, DHO bicker over ‘false’ COVID-19 test results

Jackson Buti Atima, the NRM Parliamentary candidate for Arua central division

Arua, Uganda |  THE INDEPENDENT |   Controversy has erupted in Arua district over COVID-19 results released by the District Health Officer Paul Bishop Drileba, following tests conducted in anticipation of the presidents visit last week. 

President Museveni visited Arua as part of a five-day journey in which he unveiled major projects in Acholi and West Nile sub-regions. The projects included the ground-breaking ceremony for the 132kv transmission line, which will evacuate electricity from Karuma, Agago and Nyagak to West Nile and parts of Northern Uganda, the commissioning of the Arua value-addition factory and the commissioning of an 8MW thermal power plant by Electro-Maxx.

It was decreed that only those with negative COVID-19 test certificates would attend the events, and as such, all political leaders were subjected to COVID-19 tests, as a precondition. But when the results were returned, the DHO announced that up to 65 people from the group had tested positive for coronavirus disease.

On the list was Arua deputy RDC Alice Akello, the NRM Parliamentary candidate for Arua Central Jackson Atima, Ayivu  County MP Bernard Atiku, Maureen Osoru, the Woman MP for Arua and Sam Nyakua, the District Chairman, among others.

MP Osoru and Nyakua have since gone into self-isolation but have demanded fresh test results and an investigation by the Ministry of Health. These and all the other politicians accused Drileba of manipulating the COVID-19 test results  under the influence of some area politicians.

Akello told URN that the DHO informed her through a phone call that she had tested positive for COVID-19, but declined to give her further guidance on next steps after the test. She said that she became suspicious and, with guidance from the Director of Arua hospital, she took another from Adjumani Laboratory which posted negative results. 

Meanwhile Jackson Buti Atima, the NRM Parliamentary candidate for Arua central division said he decided to go for another test two days after and the result turned out to be negative. Atima says he is now consulting with his legal team and the political task force on the next course of action. 

Similarly, MP Bernard Atiku said that he took another test in Mulago and MBN clinical laboratory in Kampala and he posted negative results. Atiku who is also, a member of the national COVID-19 task force says he has forwarded the matter to the national health subcommittee for further inquiries.   

However, Drileba confirmed that two of the cases are under investigation but the other cases are baseless because the positive cases are supposed to manage themselves in their homes.  

Although the results showed that 65 positive cases, there has not been any tracing of primary and secondary contacts  by the task force, creating more worry among the populace in Arua and West Nile

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