Gulu City Residents Demand Repair of Non Functional Street Lights

130 solar street lights have broken down for close to two years and have not been repaired posing fears among road users, especially during night hours.
Some of the broken non-functional solar street lights along Walter-Opwonya Road in Bardege-Layibi division. Photo by Emmy Daniel Ojara

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Residents are demanding the repair of non-functional solar street lights in Gulu City citing insecurity.  

130 solar street lights have broken down for close to two years and have not been repaired posing fears among road users, especially during night hours.   These are part of the 450 solar street lights installed under the 3.2 billion shillings project Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development-USMID. 

Some of the malfunctioned solar streets lights are located along Ring Road, Walter Opwonya Road, Odur Min Odyek Road, Cemetery Road, Acholi Lane, Commercial Road and Lumumba Avenue among others.   

Alex Okoya, the Founder Street Samaritans Organization says the town is covered in darkness at night drawing complaints from residents and members of the business community. He adds that the persistent blackout in the City at night has led to insecurity, poor service delivery, and fear and also affected the beauty of the City, especially at night.

//Cue in: ‘’so we wrote…   

Cue out: …a dark town.’’//   

He noted that through the petition they are reminding the Gulu City authorities to know that over 60% of the solar street lights are damaged and need immediate repair.   

Through the petition letter, they demanded that the Gulu City authorities repair the broken solar street lights within 14 days effective Monday lest they will take it to the streets to protest in demand for their rights as citizens and taxpayers. 

//Cue in: ‘’we are not…

Cue out: …Gulu is first.’’//   

Moses Opio, a motorcyclist in Gulu City says the lack of security lights has given rise to iron bar hitmen and escalated crime rates in the area. He says that many of them have abandoned working at night hours, although it is the time they get more customers and money.

The Gulu Resident City Commissioner, Denis Odongpiny Odwong says that the petition is timely and would task the city authorities to take swift actions to respond since the security team are also finding it hard to carry out operations in dark spots.   

Gulu City Assistant Engineer in charge of Electricity, Christopher Lukwiya attributed the damage of the street lights to heavy rains, vandalism and strong winds among others.  

He disclosed that the City has earmarked 50 million shillings for repairing the solar street lights.

Lukwiya notes that works are yet to commence because they lack equipment like crane lifter, generator and welding plant.  

Earlier on, residents of Gulu City raised concerns over the broken solar street lights saying this is posing insecurity at night by aiding criminal activities.   

Robert Okwonga, the LCI Chairperson of Goans Quarters in Bardege -Layibi Division revealed that criminals are taking advantage of the dark spots to waylay and rob their victims.