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Minister Aceng's visit to Arua angers immigration officials

Minister Ruth Achieng (in black suit) possing for a photo with WHO and ministry of Health officials at Lia customs point in Arua

Minister Ruth Achieng (in black suit) possing for a photo with WHO and ministry of Health officials at Lia customs point in Arua

Security and immigration officials at Lia border point along the Uganda-DRC border in Arua district were on Thursday 'left surprised' after the Health minister Ruth Aceng visited the area but declined to talk to them.

Aceng together with the World Health Organization (WHO) regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti made an emergency visit to Arua following the death of a woman from Ebola in Ariwara town, DRC.

However, on arrival at Lia customs border point, Aceng proceeded with her team to the Ombayi checkpoint on the DRC side and took a photo with the WHO and health officials without getting a briefing from the immigration and security officials, who are currently ill-equipped and struggling to screen for Ebola at Lia.

Lia border point is 12 kilometres to Ariwara town in DRC. The Lia customs officials and security team, who were not informed of the minister’s visit, were left puzzled after the minister’s entourage left the customs point without hearing from the officials. One of the senior immigration officials who spoke on condition of anonymity threatened to abandon work if the screening equipment is not provided.

"You need to have your ears on the ground because of what is happening here. We’re the people on ground, how are they handling us, what is the response? All those questions…she doesn’t want to entertain questions. For me I take charge of my own health, the moment it worsens I will just desert and takeoff …even us here were fearing, somebody died all the way from here. Already here is terrible, for us were surviving on nothing." he said. 

A police officer manning security at Lia customs border point says that he was shocked to see a convoy of vehicles arrive at speed at the customs but was further shocked to see no one talk to him before dashing to DRC side for a photograph. 

“Up to now, I don’t know who those people are and I wonder why they ignore us. I thought they would first sign, listen to us and later escort them to our counterparts on the DRC side” said the police officer.

But on arrival at Lia customs border point, Aceng says that she was happy that there is free movement of people and goods across the border points.

"We cannot be screening in this kind of environment, no. Because as I was coming, we were asking are these Congolese? Do they cross over? I asked whose goats are these, are they Congolese or Ugandan goats. It is difficult, now we have to be very innovative in our minds." said Aceng. 

The minister’s team together with World Health Organization, district health officials later attended an Ebola assessment meeting at Desert Breeze hotel in Arua with West Nile districts LCV chairpersons. 


+1 #1 Odongkara 2019-07-05 16:27
The security and the immigration officials at Lia border point have miserably failed in the execution of their duties.

How can anyone criss cross between international boundaries and not get arrested for flouting the law?

Who is Ruth Acheng to be above international laws? Instead of complaining these deserve arrest and be arraigned in courts of law.

I think we still remember the soldiers who denied Bamugameorire entrance to an area of military installation because the lady and her team were not cleared by the powers that be.

And today we know these soldiers are heroes in the country because of sticking to their job assignment regardless of who orders them around.

You missed a golden chance of showing the minister what you are doing at the border point. You are lucky if you are fired for incompetence.
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0 #2 Akot 2019-07-05 19:56
How can a minister & World Health Organization ignore migration officials who are directly in contact with migrants/refugees fleeying their country inffected by Ebola?

This is more disturbing as Congolese are at tribal wars that left their homes burnt down, many killed!

The first action Uganda, if it had real government, was to seal Uganda/DRC border & WHO/Uganda government should have been the first to recognise Ebola as dangerous; refugees from DRCongo should not have been allowed in Uganda, as Ugandans have no National healthcare nor money to pay Museveni for their healthcare!

Ugandans MUST bring change as they are alone at the mercy of Museveni, WHO, UN, EU, who consider Uganda peaceful & home to resettle migrants/refugees fleeying wars!...
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0 #3 Akot 2019-07-05 20:04
...Uganda was not well governed before 1986, but it had National Healthcare for ALL & was also kept safe from HIV/SIDA by Ugandans themselves, who were careful!

Until NRA came in & the liberators raped girls & the deadly virus spread so fast; so many NRA died from HIV/SIDA & this helped reduced their numbers!

Why are there migration officers in Uganda when a minister does not recognise them?

Wars/poverty don't only bring in migrants/refugees, but thier diseases/inffections, too!

Europeans submerged with taxes taxes & rising cost ofliving, their rich blamed for not being taxed enough, because governments need the money to give migrants housing, healthcare, education, food...!

Who gives Ugandans public/social services or cares about them & how they live?
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+2 #4 Lysol 2019-07-06 00:30
The corrupt regime in Uganda is always trying to use everything for political photo-ops and financial gains.

The regime has no shame and will always do anything to survive.

A cheap way to gain international attention. by Museveni, as he did with HIV/aids by coming up with bogus statistics/figures in order to get funding. .
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0 #5 kabayekka 2019-07-06 01:01
Show off of African bureaucratics trying to convince the international community that the money given out for African medical emergencies is in good books.

And yet democratic elections are approaching for Uganda to elect new leadership.
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0 #6 Akot 2019-07-06 20:59
Lysol, agreed!

The question of migrants/refugees has caused damages to Uganda natural land thus, climate!

Migration also brought devleoped countries to silent internal wars that is getting louder now!

Financement of UNHCR must stop, if there is to be a beginning to solution to ensure goog governance, peace, in all countries!

The more UN/EU give money for refugees/migrants, the more they flock & there will be no end while Musevneis will go on ruling, supported by UN-EU & Uganda will be over populated & completely destroyed!

But then again, power to throw Museveni out lies in the hands of Ugandans & only in UNITY!
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