KAMPALA – The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has tasked the Police authority to explain the ongoing water and electricity crisis in barracks within Kampala that has seen police officers go two months without these vital utilities.
Kadaga’s directive followed a matter raised by Lutamaguzi Ssemakula (Nakaseke North) who tasked the Ministers of Internal Affairs to explain the crises he says are impending in Police officers’ ability to fulfil their mandates.
Lutamaguzi said, “The absence of water and electricity is causing a danger to the public because Police is expected to keep law and order but there is isn’t any way they will keep law when they aren’t facilitated. It is worrying that police facility is supposed to work 24/7. I want an explanation of why Nsambya barracks has gone two months with water and electricity.”
The Speaker directed, “The Minister of Internal Affairs should come and explain to the country why Nsambya barracks has been in the darkness for the past two months.”
The plight of the Police officers was first brought to light when a one Humphrey Tushabe tasked Asan Kasingye, Chief Political Commissar asked him to explain why the Nsambya barracks has been in a blackout, a development he admitted saying, “True. We can’t access our quarterly release because we get a new accounting officer tomorrow. It may take us one week for him to complete the process for being Police accounting officer. The law doesn’t allow us to get services on credit. Let’s remain patient.”
However, Tushabe wasn’t satisfied by Kasingye’s response adding, “I know the Government EFT payment mode, I know procurement process (the LPOs, the Form 5s) but you all aren’t going to put lives of Ugandans at stake because of quarterly release. Why didn’t you block the funds from the last quarter to cater for those bills. Salaries can wait not water & electricity.”
Kasingye denied allegations that Police top authorities were deliberately punishing its officers arguing that it was the very reason Police was chased from Public Accounts Committee over mischarge of funds from planned activities to fund emergencies, “Nobody is punishing our officers. We feel about them more than any other person. It’s about fulfilling procedures for accessing money. I guess you can’t access your money from a bank without a Cheque or Pin Code at the ATM. Even government money is accessed through access rights.”
During the budgeting process in April 2019 for the Financial year 2019/2010 Police’s budget was reduced by Shs500Bn with utilities featuring as some of the items affected.
Police submitted budget of Shs24.4Bn for electricity but the Treasury only approved Shs16.240Bn leaving shortfall of Shs8.160Bn while the Force also requested for Shs21.200Bn for water and only Shs11.090Bn was allocated leaving shortfall of Shs10.110Bn with the Force telling the MPs that the budget provision for utilities is inadequate and the situation is worsened by the increase in numbers of entitled officers by 9000.