KAMPALA – The Minister of Internal Affairs, Jeje Odong has on Tuesday, September 3, blamed the seasoned power and water blackouts at Nsambya barracks on the shortage of budgetary allocations whose demand has reached a tune of UGX 6Billion.
Hon Odong made the revelation on Tuesday in a plenary sitting noting, “Nsambya barracks is one of the most highly-populated barracks and frequently suffers blackouts due to high consumption. The barracks required UGX1.464bn to meet cost of utility per quarter but only received UGX 614million budgetary allocation.”
The Minister’s revelation was in response to a directive by Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga who 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.
Hon Kadaga’s directive followed a matter raised by Nakaseke North MP, Lutamaguzi Ssemakula who tasked the Ministers of Internal Affairs to explain the crises he says are impending in Police officers’ ability to fulfil their mandates.
Hon Lutamaguzi said that 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 anyway they will keep law when they aren’t facilitated. It is worrying that the police facility is supposed to work 24/7. I want an explanation why Nsambya barracks has gone two months with water and electricity.
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.