UMEME Offices In Masaka Closed After Protests

2871 Views Masaka, Uganda

In short
Police has closed UMEME offices in Masaka and ordered workers to return home, hours after anti riot police clashed with anti load shedding protesters. On Friday morning, 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.

Police has closed UMEME offices in Masaka and ordered workers to return home, hours after anti riot police clashed with anti load shedding protesters.

On Friday morning, 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 Masaka Parliamentary candidate, 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.

They also accused UMEME and the government of sabotaging health service delivery in Kitovu and Masaka Hospitals, where surgical operations have been suspended due to power outage.

But just as they attempted to storm UMEME offices along Masaka-Kampala Highway, anti riot police fired teargas and live bullets to disperse the protesters. The protesters mostly FDC youths responded by pelting police with stones. The protesters also blocked Masaka-Nyendo road paralyzing traffic.

The protesters also threatened to torch UMEME offices forcing police to order the workers to return home. Andrew Sorowen, the Special Operations Commander says police ordered UMEME workers to go home because their stay in offices was angering the protesters.
 
Sorowen says police is maintaining security at the offices until power is restored to calm the tension.
 
Mutesasira however says they have set up a committee to mobilize another demonstration slated for Monday next week. He says Friday’s protest was short-lived because several traders shunned it. He now says they are targeting ten thousand people for the Monday protests.
 
// Cue in: “We are targeting …..”
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Meanwhile, George Wamboko, the UMEME engineer has attributed the persistent load shedding on transformer vandalism. He claims several of their transformers have been vandalized by thugs. He says UMEME has so far arrested five suspects for transformer vandalism.
 
He identifies some of the suspects as Richard Ssempijja, Richard Ssendi, Umar Mpiima, and Emmanuel Luwaga who are accused of being behind the racket of thugs vandalizing transformers to siphoning oil.
 
The suspects are being held at Masaka Central Police Station.

 

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.