Ntungamo. Residents in Kajara County in Ntungamo District have accused workers of a Chinese company working on the rural electrification Rot8 line of demanding bribes before erecting poles near homes.
Speaking at various meetings organised by the Kajara County MP, Mr Micheal Timuzigu Kamugisha, in sub-counties of Kibatsi, Ihunga and Nyabihoko where the power line is passing last Saturday, the residents said employees of China Jang Shi are demanding up to Shs500,000 to erect poles near homes even when the map of the power line design shows the line passes near their homes.
Ms Grace Kyomugisha, a resident of Kishunjure village, told the meeting at Kibatsi Sub-county: “I asked them if I will have a pole near my home to be able to access power, one boy told me to ask the boss who later told me to pay Shs300,000 for a pole. I hesitated but they later came connecting and skipped my house. I called them back and paid, a pole was immediately transported and erected...”
Mr Wilson Mugizi, a resident of Nkongoro village in Nyabihoko Sub-county, claimed that they had cut his coffee and banana plantations and promised that the line will pass near his home. The poles transported were even to his compound but they were later withdrawn after he failed to pay the linesmen.
Mr Caludus Katugunda said their church was left out after they failed to raise Shs400,000.
However, some residents of Nyakibigi trading centre were connected after they collected and paid some money despite not being on the map.
In regard to the complaints the contractor site engineer, Mr Albert Nyakana, said the ground workers were responsible for the connections will be asked to answer the queries raised by residents.
However, the Rot 8 line supervisor, Mr Tonny Yei, said the company will re-assess the mapping of the electricity line to see that all the formerly mapped areas are connected.
Mr Timuzigu blamed government, Rural Electrification Agency and the Chinese company for not involving the locals in planning and executing the connection of the line.