Museveni warns vandals over theft of power lines

Government, last year, shared photos of the Karuma-Kawanda high voltage power line that it said had been vandalised by unknown people. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • On the issue of the government subsiding fuel prices as a quick remedy to bring down the high commodity prices, Mr Museveni insisted that it will be disastrous to do so.

President Museveni has cautioned those involved in vandalising electricity lines and towers to stop.

The vandalism of electricity lines and towers has since plunged the country into unnecessary load shedding due to less power.

Mr Museveni vowed to fight those involved in the vice.

 “This shall be solved. Are the power lines in Uganda or Congo? They are here in Uganda and if they (vandals) are in Uganda, they will be handled,” the President said during an end of year interaction session with selected editors at the Nakasero State Lodge in Kampala last Friday.

He added: “But surely, if necessary, once we come in, those vandals will not like it because some of them might be six feet under the ground. But I think the Energy ministry is handling [it]. I just read it in newspapers, I haven’t discussed it in any forum.”

According to Mr Michael Taremwa, an official from Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL), the electricity vandalism wave is posing a huge threat to the country’s economy in that government now needs more than Shs16.6b to restore the vandalised power lines that have led to constrained capacity of transmitting power.

“So far, 54 cases of vandalism of electricity power lines have been reported to police, out of which 14 have ended in courts of law with three ending up in convictions under the old law. We need concerted efforts to overcome this vandalism that started as common theft but has turned into something else,” Mr Taremwa said while appearing on a local radio talk show last Saturday.

He further revealed that between 60 and 70 electricity towers have since been vandalised with more four reported to have been vandalised at the weekend.

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja, who attended the meeting, said: “Your Excellence, they (vandals) have affected us badly. I request that you interest yourself in it. We have had a number of meetings on the same. I have also involved security like police but when you come in, we shall fight this together. The line from Bujagali was down and there was a time when UEDCL could not supply us with enough energy. This is economic sabotage your Excellency.” 

On the issue of the government subsiding fuel prices as a quick remedy to bring down the high commodity prices, Mr Museveni insisted that it will be disastrous to do so.


“The answer [to] high fuel prices is to have electric cars and also electric boda bodas. We shall need to shift from the fuel-consuming boda bodas to electric ones. There is a plan to swap fuel boda bodas with electric ones at no cost. You bring your fuel boda boda and you swap with the electric one at no cost,” Mr Museveni said

“There is that plan. I negotiated with people so that all these boda bodas using fuel are all out. I appeal to Ugandans to be patient. This is expected to be done in the next two years. The option of subsiding is very disastrous way,” he added.

The President also took a swipe at security officers who beat suspects in order to obtain a confession from them.

“These security people had wrong traditional ideas. They come with their tribal ideas and bring them in the national army. They bring their village tendencies here. Because the villagers say a stealing dog, pays with its back.  These are traditional ideas. Then the other traditional idea is to beat a suspect to reveal the truth,” Mr Museveni said.

“These are really essentially traditional ideas.  Tribal management of crime. The police wants to be three on one like the Trinity. But the Constitution says we need the arrestor, prosecutor and the judge. So these fellows want to be three in one. So it’s about capacity building. I will be surprised by anyone doing that because I took time to write about that,” he added.