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Kadaga summons Aceng for ‘flouting’ social distancing guidelines

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has summoned the Minister of Health and State Minister of Kampala to explain to parliament allegations that they flouted government guidelines on the prevention of COVID-19.

Minister Ruth Aceng and Benna Namugwanya Bugembe have in the past one week been photographed talking to crowds without masks on, and with minimal social distancing.

Although Minister Aceng explained the circumstances under which she was caught in a crowd, and that she was showing people how to wear masks, MP Joseph Ssewungu raised the matter in parliament on Tuesday, after which the speaker asked that the two ministers appear before parliament to explain themselves.

Criticism of the health minister in particular dominated social media Saturday, with several accusing her of ignoring the COVID-19 regulations of wearing masks in public, and keeping social distance.

She has responded to the criticism below

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Dear All,
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.

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