Mukono Market Vendors Protest Over Prolonged Blackout

The vendors staged demos at 3 points in the market, burning tyres in the middle of the road and blocking vehicles that tend to opt for the route as a way of beating the traffic on the Kampala- Jinja highway.
Police Officer trying to put out the fire in Kikooza, Mukono Municipality
Mukono Vendors in Kikooza market are protesting against a prolonged black out of electricity in the market, disrupting business and paralyzing public transportation on the road.

The vendors  staged their demos at 3 points in the market burning tyres in the middle of the road and blocking vehicles that tend to opt for the route as a way to beat the traffic on the Kampala- Jinja highway. 

The police led by the Officer in Charge Operations Mukono Asp Micheal Wandulu came and dispersed  the vendors. They also made them remove the fire from the road. 

Asp Wandulu says: “They should always follow the right procedures when raising their concerns because this fire can get out of hand and burn other items in the market.

According to the vendors, they have spent a week without power and when they try to contact the UMEME  office in Mukono they  are told that their transformer was destroyed and this has left them counting losses. 

Ronald Ssemakulu who sells milk in the market says the novel covid 19 took a toll on his business and now lack of electricity is causing further loss.

He says: “Some people have businesses that have been established with loan money, when there is no electricity we are affected. Yesterday I lost 117 liters of milk because the milk went bad."

Cyrus Nuwagaba a welder says he has taken a lot of time working on only one door due to unstable power. “The work that I would do in a day or a few hours is taking me days to finish and this is costing me clients who are instead going to my competitors in industrial area.”  

Kasimu Ssemanda  says: “I have gone one week without power and I have lost milk worth 500,000 shillings. I wish UMEME could compensate me for my losses because my business is currently on a loan.”

Kikooza market is one of the business areas in Mukono Municipality that depends heavily on electricity.

The market also contains various departments like Fisheries, milk, fresh vegetables, beverages, poultry, wielding among others.

The vendors who yesterday gave UMEME an ultimatum protested again today prompting them to call for a meeting where they have addressed the issue.

The Mukono Acting Operations Mananger UMEME Flavia Azaire says: “There is a problem with the transformer in Kikooza, it was removed and will be replaced this evening. Hopefully by evening or tomorrow they will be having power.”

However she noted that they will not compensate anybody who lost their merchandise. “A fault is a fault, we don’t plan for faults, when they happen all we do is resolve it, so I don’t want anybody to wait for us to compensate them because that is not our role.”