Residents in 28 villages of Namayumba Sub-county, Wakiso District in Uganda have decried the government’s three-year delay to connect electricity to their homes.
The affected residents claim the contractor assigned to extend the power to the area only put up electricity poles and abandoned the project.
They said the project, a pledge made by President Museveni in 2019 in the run-up to the 2021 general elections, kicked off in 2020.
“We are wondering how the President can direct that we get electricity and the project just stalls like that, no government official is explaining why we don’t have electricity,” Mr Atanasi Lufuuma, the chairperson Kibujjo-Seeta Village stated.
In some villages namely Bbembe, Kibujjo-Seeta, and Bujjimba, Mr Lufuuma said electric poles were put in the area and wires laid but they have not been connected to the power grid to date.
Mr Lufuuma added: “This has given a leeway to vandals to steal electric cables in villages of Kibujjo and Bbembe.”
Mr Joseph Musenze, the chairperson of Namuyamba Sub-county, said eight out of the 36 villages in the sub-county are connected to the national grid.
“We are located just 30kms from Kampala, but residents cannot access electricity. We have some parishes like Bukondo which completely have no power, Kitayita Parish has one and a half villages with electricity,” he explained.
Mr Musenze added: “When the President made the pledge, we thought that we would get power in a few months, but it is now coming to four years and there is no indication that we will get connected to the national grid any time soon.”
Some residents attributed the delays to the former area MP (Busiro North) Mr Denis Ssozi Galabuzi. They say he has frustrated the project having been defeated in the 2021 parliamentary polls.
“At some functions he attends, he boasts that we will never get electricity unless we bring him back as area MP. This is bad. Let him use his political clout where he is, so that we get electricity, you never know, the electorate may base on that to consider him in the forthcoming election,” said Mr Moses Luyimbazi, a resident of Kibujjo-Seeta Village.
Mr Galabuzi, who is currently the national coordinator of the Parish Development Model programme, described allegations levelled against him as baseless.
“When I was still a Member of Parliament, I made sure that electricity was extended to villages which did not have it. When I lost [the seat], I could not do the same. Rumours that I blocked the project are unfounded. I am not that powerful to block a government project and I will never do anything negative for my people, that is propaganda,” he said.
His successor, Mr Paul Nsubuga, said by the time he became the Busiro North MP in January 2021, the project had already stalled.
“I was told that the project stopped due to lack of funding. As the current area MP, I am going to make sure that I reach out to the Minister of Energy, Ms Ruth Nankabirwa, to get an update on that project,” he said.
Mr Solomon Muyita, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, said the project to extend electricity to villages in Namayumba Sub-county, was disrupted by the effects of Covid-19 pandemic.
“Some of the funding was not coming through the way we expected it. But now, we have a new project dubbed Electricity Access Scale -Up project (EASP) under the World Bank which is scheduled to commence in April. Through this project, I am sure residents of Namayumba Sub-county will be considered. Let them write to the minister or the permanent secretary, he said, adding that the residents should “send in a reminder and they will get power.”