SHEEMA – The minister of energy and mineral development Ms. Ireen Muloni warned residents of Sheema to desist from the vice of vandalization and theft of electricity equipment, arguing that it retards development.
The mister was commissioning the low voltage electricity extensions at Runyinya Village in Sheema North Constituency in Sheema district on Tuesday, April 16.
The electricity extension is being undertaken by the Rural Electrification Agency.
Ms. Muloni noted that however the government is still committed to extending electricity to at least all villages, the process has been frustrated by unscrupulous people who destroy and steal electricity materials which has made the government loss huge sums of money.
“This electricity is for all us in as Ugandans make sure you guard it jealously because it has been raised as a pertinent issue, let us keep a watchful eye to one another, we police ourselves to ensure that this electricity remains.” Ms. Mulooni noted.
The minister urged the residents to be vigilant enough to question any stranger who comes to the area disguising as an employee of any electricity company.
“Let’s not allow people to come and still our equipment, we need to protect them and protect ourselves, let these companies which were contracted by the government to provide electricity to people ensure that, wires, poles and transformers are kept safe”
Ms. Muloni adds that as government, they are considering amending the law to make it very punitive for people who are vandalizing and stealing electricity.
Her comments stemmed from a concern that was raised by Frank Kyerere, the RDC Sheema who said that theft and vandalization of electricity materials is rampant and that they have tried to arrest some groups but these been released by courts unconditionally.
He revealed that so far these cases are rampant in Masheruka and Kabwohe town.
“The challenge is that when we arrest these groups, we invite UMEME staffs to come and testify but don’t show up to pin them when they reach in court, they are released, sometimes we think that these people steal themselves. Like the three groups we arrested all were released,” said Kyerere.
She advised the locals to ensure they get energy savers (bulbs) which don’t consume much power at the end of the month.
Ms. Muloni promised that in areas with factories of tea and maize that need three-phase transformers will be upgraded to ensure they do value addition to their produce.