Members of Parliament have expressed concern about the continued power black outs in police barracks around the country.
This prompted the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga to direct the Internal Affairs Minister, Gen Jeje Odongo to offer an explanation on the circumstances.
Kasambya County MP, Hon. Gaffa Mbwatekamwa said the electricity bills for these barracks have not been paid and power disconnected.
“Our officers have been denied access to power. Is this deliberate to punish these police officers?” he said.
He added that the police barracks of Kawempe, Wandegeya and Nsambya have been in a power blackout for the last three months.
“How are the children of these men and women who take care of our security supposed to learn virtually if they are in darkness? The Minister for Education said that these lessons are to be considered for promotion to the next class, for the lower classes. How will these children get the information if the barracks are in blackout?” Mbwatekamwa asked.
Hon. Henry Kibalya (NRM, Bugabula South) said that he had raised the same issue three months ago and no response had been given. He added that the power was reinstated for two weeks and then switched off again.
“The police officers cannot demonstrate; otherwise, they would have done so long ago. These officers should not be punished because they serve this country diligently. Their children who are at home can’t even read because there is no power,” he said.
The Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Mary Goretti Kitutu said that Umeme changed the power system in the barracks and they were now on Yaka.
“The power in the barracks is now on prepaid (Yaka). Umeme put them on prepaid and so the Minister of Internal Affairs should have the problem solved,” she said.
Kampala Central MP, Hon Mohammed Nsereko said that it was absurd that such key sectors are always in blackouts yet it need to have power all the time to work efficiently.
“Where is the patriotism? We are talking about the Uganda Police, why can’t they have power? If there is a shortfall, the Ministry of Finance should write to Umeme and explain to them so that some key sectors like Health, Police and Army have power all the time,” he said.
Kadaga said, ‘this has been on the Order Paper several times and the Minster in charge hasn’t come to explain. I therefore, ask the Minister of Internal Affairs to bring a comprehensive statement on whether the police barracks are on prepaid and also to tell us why he hasn’t paid their dues.