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Teargas Rocks Kalerwe During Operation Against Illegal Power Connections

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Umar Lwasa, a retail trader in Kalerwe was one of the victims of tear gas. He says police officers fired a teargas canister in his shop despite the fact that he wasn’t part of the protest.
28 Jan 2020 20:10
Police removing rocks and timber from the road

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Teargas rocked Kalerwe in Kampala city suburbs on Tuesday afternoon during an operation by power distributor, Umeme against illegal connections.

It all started after a team of Umeme officials stormed the area with the backing of police, the army and Local Defense Unit- LDU personnel and starting inspecting houses in Kalerwe and Mulago.  

However, the officials met resistance from angry residents of Kalerwe who pelted them with stones and blocked the road towards Kyebando roundabout with stone boulders and logs. 

This prompted police to fire tear gas to disperse the crowd as the LDU chased them away using sticks and guns.

Umar Lwasa, a retail trader in Kalerwe was one of the victims of tear gas. He says police officers fired a teargas canister in his shop despite the fact that he wasn’t part of the protest.

Lwasa faulted Umeme for failing to eliminate the people behind illegal connection and also advised that the best way to fight the vice is to sensitise residents against illegal power connection.

//Cue in: “Abamasannyalaze batufuukidde…

Cue out: …mwe kagude”//

Eng. John Nuwamanya, the metering service manager Kampala East and North, says that just like in other areas, they found underground networks, poorly joint meters and bypassed meters with very low bills among others.

 

Nuwamanya says that the company makes a loss of Shillings 8 billion monthly from illegal connections on the Wandegeya sub-station. He cautioned the public against illegal connections, saying the vice affects power tariffs. 

//Cue in: “That does not only…

Cue out: …the tariffs upwards”//

Nuwamanya said they had picked 52 people in connection to the illegal connections. He however says they are likely to settle rather than prosecute the offenders. 

The offenders can be billed on the estimated amount of power they have been consuming illegally and later be encouraged to apply for connection through legit channels.

According to Nuwamanya, since the operations started in September, over 250 people have legalized their connections with UMEME. 

He says they are still engaging people and leaders to legalize illegal connection in Bwaise, Nabweru, Kiganda, kiyaye in Nakulabye and Kawempe.

Nuwamanya says they are engaging local leaders to sensitize the public to work with UMEME and avoid illegal operators, saying they continue to prosecute illegal operators. 

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