Back to Africa Check

No, Uganda’s police didn’t defend health minister for not wearing mask

A Facebook post circulating in Uganda claims police defended the country’s health minister, Jane Ruth Aceng, for not wearing a face mask in public.

This was after video footage was shared on social media showing Aceng at a public gathering, maskless, and not maintaining physical distance, despite guidelines put in place by the health ministry to combat the Covid-19 pandemic

In video and photos of the same event, the minister is not wearing a mask, though people in the crowd are. 

The post reads: “POLICE CLEARS THE AIR ABOUT HON RUTH ACENG. It has come to our understanding that the Video in circulation of the minister of health leading a huge crowd without masks was taken last year not recently like they say ... Fred Enanga said.”

Fred Enanga is the police spokesperson, who is pictured in the post. 

The post goes on to claim that this statement comes after some parliamentarians called for disciplinary action to be taken against the health minister. 

But did the police really defend the minister, or say the event in question was from 2019? 

Footage legit

News reports from Uganda’s capital, Kampala, said the minister was being criticised for failing to wear a mask, and for not keeping physical distance from others, at an event on 10 July 2020. 

A daily newspaper, the Monitor, also reported on the incident and quoted the minister explaining that the event was overrun by people wanting the mosquito nets and face masks she was distributing.

In an article published on the website of the Uganda Media Centre, the government body that handles public communications, Ofwono Opondo, executive director of the centre, defended the minister. 

He wrote that Aceng was “caught off guard” and had “publicly regretted the incident”. 

Police call social media posts ‘fake’

But while some government officials have defended the minister, the police did not. 

They shared screenshots of similar social media posts on their verified Twitter account, captioned “FAKE NEWS”. And there are no credible reports of spokesperson Enanga defending the health minister. – Grace Gichuhi

Republish our content for free

Please complete this form to receive the HTML sharing code.

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.