There was a heated exchange between power consumers and Umeme officials in Kabale town on Wednesday over the persistent power outages. Led by Nicholas Byengoma, the proprietor of Acadia Lodges in Bunyonyi, Macknab Ananda, Dr. Gilbert Mateeka, Kabale District Health Officer, Dr. Esther Rutaremwa, the Rugarama Hospital Medical Superintendent and Abel Ruganza, Kabale District Police Commander among others, the users say they are tired of endless power supply in the region because it has seriously ruined their businesses.
Dr. Esther Rutaremwa, the Rugarama Hospital Medical Superintendent, said that whenever there are power outages, premature babies are at risk of dying or developing irreversible brain damage since incubators and oxygen concentrators stop running. She said that it is embarrassing to explain to mothers that their children died or developed brain damage because of power failure.
Abel Ruganza, the Kabale District Police Commander explained that criminals become happy whenever power is off and use the chance to execute their evil plans. He also noted that power outages disrupt the functionality of toilets inside their cells making suspects resort to the bucket system for short and long calls.
Paul Ssempila, Umeme’s Western Regional Manager in Charge of Operations attributed the outages to falling tree branches, saying that the safety switch goes off whenever they detect any interferences. But, Ivan Mbabazi Batuma, the Chairperson for Kigezi Tourism Cluster protested the excuse and questioned whether the power distributors can’t resolve such minor glitches.