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Kigezi Residents Protest Unending Power Outages

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Moreen Atuheire, a resident of Bugongi in Nothern Kabale Municipality, says that recently, Kabale Municipality and Uganda National Roads Authority removed street solar lights along Kabale main street after developing a fault and connected them to the main grid. She says that whenever the power goes off, the street lights also go off.
Part of Kanungu town, one of the areas mostly hit by unending power outages (Photo Credit Samuel Amanya

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Power consumers majorly residents and the business community in Kigezi Region are protesting over endless power outages. The power consumers say that they have been battling intermittent power supply since last year.

They claim that in a day, power goes off more than five times. They also say that the power completely goes off whenever the weather is cloudy and raining.  The power consumers majorly members of the business community have threatened to stage a violent demonstration against Uganda Electricity Distribution Company Limited (UEDCL) and power distributors, UMEME for alleged failure to resolve the problem of power outages.  

Moreen Atuheire, a resident of Bugongi in Nothern Kabale Municipality, says that recently, Kabale Municipality and Uganda National Roads Authority removed street solar lights along Kabale main street after developing a fault and connected them to the main grid. She says that whenever the power goes off, the street lights also go off.

She says that with such outages, the purpose of installing street lights to curb crime is lost. Gideon Tumwesizgye, a resident of Bataka village in Kirigime ward, southern division and Daniel Ruhumuriza, a resident of Butobere in the central division, Kabale municipality, say that they are tired of endless power outages in Kabale.  

They say that some the business people like saloons operators no longer earn anything due to the daily outages. They fault their leaders who have remained silent on the matter yet the problem is persisting.  

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Simon Byamukama, the Executive Director of Let Us Save Uganda, a non-government organization operating in Rubanda and Kabale districts, says that all businesses that depend on power are struggling to operate because of the outages. 

Byamukama also accuses Umeme officials of failure to come out and explain why the problem unending power outages.

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Fidelis Kanyamunyu, the Director of Wagtail Eco Safari Camp in Rubuguri town council in Kisoro district, says that it becomes very difficult for them to store perishable food like fish and chicken in refrigerators due to the intermittent power supply.

He also says that sometimes visitors, mostly tourists demand power when it is off. Kanyamunyu says that running on a generator is very costly, which compromises their services.   

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Charles Turyabitunga Bineguro, Fausta Tumuheirwe and Ezra Tusingwiire, all businessmen in Kihihi town council, says that their carpentry business is collapsing due to the daily power outages.    

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Dr. Nicholas Kamara, the Kabale Municipality member of parliament, says that he has complained before in parliament about the power outages in Kigezi and got tired.  

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Rukiga

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Our reporter was unable to get a comment from Stephen Ilongole, the Umeme Media Manager as he could neither pick nor return calls from our reporter. But Godfrey Tudde, the UEDCL manager in charge of the South-Western region, says that the power outage is caused by unavoidable technical problems, which are trying to address.  

 

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A source from the Energy and Mineral Development Ministry told our reporter on condition of anonymity that Sidronious Okasaai Opolot, the State Minister for Energy is preparing to hold a meeting with some leaders from Kigezi at Kabale district headquarters over the weekend to discuss the power outages following reports that James Ruuji Ninringiyimana Kaberuka, the Kinkiizi West County Member of parliament is mobilizing residents to stage a demonstration.

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