That the lowly social cluster has largely been at the rough end of many social service inclusions is a fact not lost on anyone.
From the government not doing enough to extend the water lines and denying them proper medical facilities to marginalization in education, the plight of the urban poor in Kampala metropolitan and all major towns across Uganda is widespread.
A bit over the years, things are being reversed for the better but there’s one sad and dishonorable delinquency that we have propagated for ourselves – POWER THEFT.
A case in point are the recent electrocutions of a mother and her three-year-old daughter while planting maize in Nakusi village, Namnyoyi sub-county in Mbale district. The practice of illegal connections in this area is alarming. Wires are left exposed which leads to electrocution of children.
For some reason, a concerned citizen, Cyrus Kabaale raised serious questions about the safety of Ugandans and whether our laws are doing enough to combat power theft.
For the last five years, Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD) have been working to amend the 1999 Electricity Act to provide punitive punishments against illegal connections and reduce power losses.
Why have they failed to amend the Act to make illegal connections and the power theft very costly? UMEME said they are now collecting 100% bills and power losses have been reduced from 39% in 2009 to 17% today which is very commendable a job but what is the law failing us on the other side?
Illegal connections kill, the perpetuators need to be punished.