Umeme Given 3 Months Ultimatum to Stabilize Supply in Kitgum

1979 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
The Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Kitgum district Lt. Okot Santos Lapolo has issued a 3 months ultimatum to Umeme Power Limited to stabilize electricity supply or face the wrath of business community in the district.

The Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Kitgum district Lt. Okot Santos Lapolo has issued a 3 months ultimatum to Umeme Limited to stabilize electricity supply or face the wrath of business community in the district.
 
Lt. Okot Santos Lapolo issued the ultimatum on Tuesday evening in a meeting between the power utility and the business community in the district. He said he convened the meeting after registering several public grievances about lack of reliable power.
 
Kitgum business community resolved to participate in rigorous industrial action aimed at forcing out all the incompetent Umeme staff in the Kitgum office.
 
Mark Okeny, the chairperson of the business community in Kitgum, presented a 7 points petition highlighting Umeme's weaknesses Lopolo.
 
Okeny said they have not ruled out public demonstrations if the problem of lack of power is not addressed soon. 
 
Toolit Godfrey, the Coordinator of Northern Uganda Business Association, said lack of power had greatly affected their businesses. He said that it also had led to more crime like house break-ins, theft and muggings. 
 
Toolit said electricity supply had been better under Uganda Electricity Board (UEB). Umeme joined the electricity market in 2005.
 
John Ssentongo, the Umeme Supervisor for Kitgum district, blames inconsistent power supply on rotten electricity poles, lightening and cracking insulators on Lira – Kitgum transmission line. He says they have successfully replaced at least 200 rotten electricity poles along the line. 
 
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Ssentongo says supply to new lines has been affected by the on-going rural electrification programme. He, however, told business persons who attended the Tuesday meeting that stable power for Kitgum would be possible within three months.
 
This pronouncement prompted Lt. Santos Okot Lapolo to issue the three months ultimatum.
 
Lapolo said the demand for power is a strong indicator that people are committed to fighting extreme poverty, in line with President Yoweri Museveni’s vision of a middle income economy.
 
//cue in “We don’t want…….
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But Lopolo said he would not tolerate any demonstration and any participants would be tear gassed.

 

Mentioned: umeme

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.