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Spotlight on Health Minister Aceng after social distancing gaffe


Lira, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda’s Minister of Health Jane Ruth Aceng is in the spotlight on social media after several posts showed her in a gathering of people without a face mask. Nearly all the people she was interacting with, did not have masks on.

Criticism of the minister 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


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.

One comment

  1. Instead of issuing a statement to rationalise and justify, she should have apologised for the gaffe. The question is not about the purpose of the meeting. The question is about holding a meeting of that size, be it political or not. Meetings of that size were banned, why is she holding one? People cant attend weddings; people cant even bury their dead because they are observing the rules! She, of all people, should know the risks involved in holding such meetings. She has participated in adverts urging us to take care of our masks, but look at how she is handling hers! I’m tempted to think that she has been peddling lies about how dangerous the virus is. If she really believes in the gospel she has been preaching about covid19, then why is she acting carelessly? No wonder many ugandans think we’ve been lied to! The argument that this was not a political rally exposes her as one who thinks that Ugandans are generally dumb. Who doesn’t know that these so-called launches and distributions are actually meant to corrupt the voters. They are used as platforms for pursuing political interests. In another country, this minister would have resigned already. But here in Uganda, she’s going to repeat this over and over…. this is sheer hubris!

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