By Hezekiah Mbogo Jr
Despite relentless government efforts at rural electrification, more than 80,000 residents from the seven sub-counties making Budaka district are still living without access to electricity. And they therefore live in total darkness according to district LC5 chairman Sam Mulomi. He says that the most affected sub-counties are Mugiti, Lyama, Nansanga, Kebula, Kakoli, Budaka rural and Kabuna. Some of these sub-counties are within spitting distance from existing power grid infrastructure. “The district has done it’s party by writing to Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to expedite the process to extend power to these rural sub-counties but unfortunately their promises are becoming like chasing a pipe dream and my people are tired of waiting,” Mulomi says. These sub-counties have been in darkness since independence. Mulomi says this has hurt economic growth and transformation of the district. Recently area MPs Kezekia Mbogo (Budaka) and Robert Kasolo [Iki-Iki] met the REA officials demanding immediately delivery of power to these marginalized sub counties.
Mulomi says it has even been more painful for residents of Lyama and Kameruka sub-counties whose areas were surveyed and mapped years back yet nothing has been delivered yet. He accuses REA ED Godfrey Turyahikayo for being disrespectful of the elected Budaka leaders who he says have been excluded and kept in the dark.
He wonders why REA teams move directly to the field without involving the leaders but only turn back to seek audience with the district leaders when the situation turns sour. “We need to work together for common cause,” he explained. Mulomi said that locals have now raised a red flag over the persistent unfilled pledges by the President especially during his campaign trail in the district. “We don’t have more to tell these people because we have tried our level best to explain over the matter but time has reached that residents have faulted us for telling lies,”he said. Charles Kitundu, the district councilor representing Nasanga sub-county said that locals have started doubting whether the President can continue telling the same story to extend electricity to these sub-counties but unfortunately no-sign on ground. “Locals are angry with these empty promises but have vowed to punish NRM in general elections,” he said. Moses Mwase, a resident said that government has taken long to extend electricity to their sub-counties despite several pledges made by the President.
“We should not be fooled to that level because we are part of Uganda.This sub-county also overwhelmingly supported this government but turning to service delivery, we are left behind. We shall not be used for only elections because we aren’t voting machines,” he said. Iki-Iki County MP Robert Kasolo said that a contractor has been secured and expected to begin soon. “The biggest challenge in the delay was because of the procurement problem but this has been done with hope that works would begin soon,” he said. The Museveni government secured a loan of Shs743bn from China Exim Bank to fund the rural electrification process to extend electricity to all sub counties across the country. About 22% of Ugandans have access to electricity but majority of the sub counties remain unconnected. Budaka’s are among the more than 350 sub counties whose residents have never felt or accessed electricity connection. For comments, call, text or whatsapp us on 0703164755.