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.
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.
But Lopolo said he would not tolerate any demonstration and any participants would be tear gassed.