Members of Parliament have raised concern on the reported harassment of people by UMEME staff.
Jinja City Woman Representative, Hon Manjeri Kyebakutika said in the course of their operations on illegal connections, the Umeme staff have used high handed methods which has seen some people beaten.
“I have received reports that Umeme staff in Jinja have brutalized people including pregnant women who are currently hospitalized,” Kyebakutika said.
Kyebakutika added these Umeme staff have been using teargas to disperse the disgruntled locals.
This revelation left the Speaker Jacob Oulanyah in shock who said it was unacceptable and unexpected of a corporate company.
“I am surprised to hear that Umeme can buy tear gas and use it in this country. Does Umeme have its own tear gas?” he wondered.
Bukooli Central MP, Hon Solomon Silwany said Ugandans have been harassed for long by Umeme officials and said drastic steps should be taken to have the organization cease operations.
“Ugandans have been crying about these issues of Umeme mistreating people and charging unfair bills. The President one time came out and complained about Umeme. I think as parliament, this is the time we should drastic decision and stop the operations of Umeme,” he said.
Oulanyah guided that although Parliament passed a resolution to halt the operations of Umeme, there is need to accord the government agencies in charge of Umeme’s contract and operation ample time to consider the impact of Parliament’s resolution and report back.
“When we pass resolutions it is not like turning on and off the switch. There are processes that will come after that; an assessment has to be done by people from the other side to see how it can be done properly in the law.” said Oulanyah.
The Minister of State for Energy, Hon Sidronius Opolot Okasai said his ministry had received similar reports from other parts of the country which he said has led to an investigation.
“We are aware of what is taking place; while we were in Iganga, we met a demonstration over the same issues. In Kumi district, the senior minister had to address the people,” Opolot said.
He added the ministry is still studying Parliament’s resolution to cancel Umeme’s contract before 2025.
“There was a concession and it was supposed to last up to 2025; we are looking into the cost implication if we terminate it,” said Opolot.
The Minister of Information, Communications Technology and National Guidance, Hon Chris Baryomunsi asked that Parliament grants the Energy minister two weeks to appraise the House on the status of UMEME’s contract.