Power Back in Masaka After Protests

1787 Views Masaka, Uganda

In short
On Friday, anti riot police were forced to shoot in the air and fire teargas to disperse a group of traders and opposition politicians who took to the streets to protest what they called worsening power outage.

Calm has returned to Masaka town after a day of protests over load shedding.

On Friday, anti riot police were forced to shoot in the air and fire teargas to disperse a group of traders and opposition politicians who took to the streets to protest what they called worsening power outage.

The demonstrators led by Peter Mutesasira, the former parliamentary candidate for Masaka Municipality and Meddie Lutaaya, the Masaka FDC youth leader carried placards with statements calling for the disbandment and termination of UMEME contract.

Some messages on the placards demanded for the immediate sacking of Kirunda Magoola, the UMEME branch Manager for Masaka whom they accuse of arrogance and incompetence.

The clashes between protesters and anti riot police commanded by Eddie Sserunjogi, the Masaka DPC forced police to close UMEME offices and ordered the workers to return home.

Noah Sserunjogi, the Southern Region Police Spokesperson says the town is now peaceful following the reconnection of power last night. He however says UMEME offices remain closed until police is certain that no more protests are being planned. He also says police is maintaining security at UMEME offices.

Godfrey Kayemba, the Masaka Mayor who toured the town on Saturday morning says Nyendo, Kyabakuza, Kimanya and central business town of Masaka are peaceful with all the people doing their businesses.

Kayemba however asks overnment to ensure stable power supply to stem the growing anger among Ugandans. Kayemba says many people are now very angry with UMEME because of load shedding which is affecting their businesses.

Willy Agirembabazi, the Regional Officer for the Uganda Human Rights Commission says they are investigating the excessive use of force by police against the anti load shedding protesters.

Agirembabazi who witnessed the clashes says police used live bullets against the protesters who were unarmed.

 He has asked the protesters to avoid destroying peoples property if they are to enjoy their rights to demonstrate.

// Cue in: “ That the right to demonstrate…..”
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On Friday, George Wamboko, the UMEME engineer attributed the persistent load shedding on transformer vandalism. He claimed that several of their transformers have been vandalized by thugs.

 

About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.