Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja has requested President Museveni to intervene in the ongoing vandalism of electricity infrastructure.
The prime minister says this problem has affected the economy badly and all meetings aimed at dealing with it have not yet yielded fruits.
“This matter has affected us badly. We have had several meetings with the police but I believe if you (president) come in, it will help us a lot. The other day, we almost ran out of power when the line from Bujagali was cut, then at Kakira, and UEDCL couldn’t supply us with energy. It’s terrible and it’s affecting us a lot. This is a very important issue and I want to thank the person who raised it” she said.
The prime minister was responding to a question by this reporter to the president on what he was doing to curb the ongoing surge in electricity infrastructure thefts.
“Your Excellency, you have formed various squads to deal with urban insecurity like Operation Wembley. Are you considering doing the same on the issue of electricity vandalism?” This reporter asked.
The president however, said that he had not yet got fully involved in this matter but instead, it was being handled by the ministry for Energy and Mineral development.
“The ministry for energy is handling it but surely, once I come in, I assure you they (vandals) won’t like it. Some of them will go 6ft down” he vowed, adding that ‘for now, I have not sat in any meeting to discuss this matter. It’s energy handling it’
The president was addressing the media at State House Nakasero where he allowed journalists to ask him matters of national importance.
The president also issued a strong warning to the ADF rebels that if they are the ones involved in attacking power lines, they will be dealt with.
“You remember when they used to attack factories? If they are also involved in attacking the power lines,…..once we mobilize (they won’t like it)” he said.
About prices for fuel, Museveni said that the solution is only in Uganda switching to electric cars including boda bodas.
“There’s a plan to swap. I don’t know how far (it has gone). You bring your boda boda of fuel, they give you an electric boda so that all these boda bodas go out. All of them” he said adding that government is also in talks with Europeans and Russians about the possibility of ending the Ukraine war as another option to bring down fuel prices.
“To talk about subsidizing fuel, that will be disastrous. Subsidizing will consume our reserves and it will not be a solution” he said after a journalist asked him why government was not giving subsidies to end fuel price crisis.
On the issue of human rights, the president said that much as some people criticize his government for allegedly violating human rights, NRM according to him is very famous for safeguarding human rights. He said his decision to wage a bush war was because they were against detention without trial and extra judicial killings. He said the NRM thus organised the population at all levels right from the village to safeguard human rights.
“So, if anybody violates your rights, there’s popular power everywhere from LC1. They should be able to bring it up. Even issues of land evictions, these elected leaders should bring them up. I mean those (issues) which are legitimate” he said.
The president attributed a practice of keeping people on remand for longer periods to lack of enough judges to handle cases. He however, said since there are other pressing issues like roads, electricity and the budget, the issue of more judges can wait.
“If you have more judges but no electricity, how will the economy grow? Human Rights, I think the infrastructure is there, let’s use it. Anyone arrested in Uganda, the structures are there. If you don’t use them,…” Museveni said
The president noted that if these structures are properly used by people, this will even check the police in case it’s involved in corruption. He encouraged people to use these power centers.