By JOREEN NABUTTO
The Opposition Forum for Democratic Change party has accused the Minister of Health, Dr Ruth Aceng, and the State Minister of Finance for Investment and Privatisation, Ms Evelyn Anite, of conducting illegal campaigns and flouting the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) during the lockdown.
Addressing journalists yesterday at their offices in Najjanankumbi, a Kampala outskirt, the party spokesperson Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, said the two ministers on Friday last week staged campaign events in defiance of covid-19 measures.
“Aceng has joined politics and wants to be a woman MP for Lira District. While in Lira on Friday, she was recorded leading a procession of her supporters mainly women. She also addressed a mini-rally at which she dumped her facemask, no social distancing at her rally and people who were attending did not also wear masks,” Mr Ssemujju said.
He also said Ms Anite while in Koboko District where she is an MP, and is seeking re-election, staged a campaign rally of more than 100 people without observing social distancing.
Mr Ssemujju said when FDC leaders organised their members at the grassroot to select their flag bearers in the forthcoming special interest group, they were violently arrested for violating the SOPs.
“Several other ministers who presided over the inauguration of cities also staged fairly big functions. Are those in the ruling government allowed to do campaigns while those in the Opposition not? We condemn this double standards always practiced by the government,” Mr Ssemujju said.
“The government must explain why it is keeping boda boda, churches, mosques, salons and arcades closed when ministers are staging campaign events. Who will the Electoral Commission tell to observe social distancing measures when the Health minister who issued the guidelines is violating them? he asked.
However, Dr Aceng said she was not holding a political rally but launching the distribution of face masks in Aromo Sub-country and training the residents on how to wear them.
“At that time, youths were also being oriented on the processes for distribution of the mosquito nets nearby. They got excited when they heard about facemasks and specifically the minister whom they call “mama corona” and rushed to see me,’ Dr Aceng said.
Ms Judith Nabakooba, the Minister of ICT, said the government regreted what Dr Aceng did and asked the public to remain calm.
“We regret the incident because we know the guidelines have been repeated over and over again and we expect that everyone follows this. However, we ask the public to remain calm and not use what Dr Aceng did to flout the guidelines,” Ms Nabakooba said on Sunday.
Ms Anite tweeted that she was distributing radio sets to the district officials to ensure continuity of learners during the lockdown.
“In order to aid remote learning amid covid-19 pandemic, I spent the afternoon distributing radios to my Koboko municipality constituents. These radios will help students keep pace with classwork and make certain that they progress academically during these unprecedented times,” Ms Anite said in one of her tweets.