The Minister of Health Dr Jane Ruth Aceng on Wednesday made it clear that she will not be apologising for allegedly flouting the presidential directives on covid-19.The minister noted that whereas she did nothing wrong, she learnt a lesson from the incident that took place in Lira district.
Dr Aceng, however, said that those exaggerating her alleged error of not putting on a mask are doing so are his political opponents. Recently, the minister announced that she will be contesting for Lira district woman MP seat in 2021 general elections.
“I was training on masks and the people who decided to take the photograph did it at the end when people were excited about seeing mama corona. I am their daughter and if I go down to the ground and they see me, wont they get excited and move near. Should I request the police to push or arrest them? That would not be nice. If am vying for a political position, I have to handle people nicely,” Aceng said during a media interview at parliament yesterday.
Last Saturday social media was awash with photos and video clips that showed Aceng, at a public gathering without putting on a facemask or observing social distancing something that contravened the presidential directives on covid-19.
The minister who has since been trolled by critics for being careless has been at the frontline of sensitizing Ugandans to put on facemasks whenever they are moving out of their homes as one of the ways of controlling the spread of the novel virus.
Following the incident, the minister for ICT and National Guidance Judith Nabakooba came out on behalf of government to make an apology regarding the issue. Nabakooba apologized and described the incident as regrettable and encouraged Ugandans not to follow what her colleague did.
“As government, we regret the incidence because we know the guidelines that have repeatedly been announced over and over again and we expected that each and everyone should follow them. We should not use Doctor Aceng to abandon the observance of the guidelines,” she said.
An apology refers to a regretful acknowledgement of an offence or failure, therefore Minister Nabakoba’s statement affirmed that Aceng had made a mistake.
In the same manner, also the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga summoned Aceng together with State Minister of Kampala Benna Namugwanya to explain to parliament allegations that they flouted Presidential guidelines on the prevention of Covid-19.
According to an official from the ministry of ICT who preferred anonymity, Aceng’s refusal to say sorry for not putting on a face mask while in public made the government’s apology a joke.
“No man is an island and error is to human, however, the strength of a man lay in accepting a mistake and then stand up. The culture of not accepting a mistake is a disease that has eaten up African leaders. The Aceng I used to know making an apology is not a big task to her but because she is joining politics she thinks making an apology might make her look weak towards her opponents,” the official said.
Also Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) Spokesperson, Issa Sekito stated, ” Refusing to apologize for flouting health guidelines yet most of our people in arcades have not been working because of these guidelines leaves a lot of questions to us as local people. Some arcades are not operating because they don’t have SOPs required by Health Ministry but if a minister refuses to apologize for what she did, it creates a lot of scepticism. Apologizing is not a crime but a sign of civility in other countries she would resign in order not to damage the integrity of the institution, how will she then tell us to wear masks?”
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