Kabale Traders Besiege Umeme Offices

Hell broke loss when traders in Kabale Municipality on Thursday protested infront of Umeme offices over constant loadshedding which they say is killing their businesses.

umeme1The traders ranged from owners of small scale industries, salon operators to restaurant owners.

The protest that started from Kabale Central Market later attracted residents who joined the procession to the Umeme offices. The Umeme manager for Kabale Ethel Katabazi refused to leave her office to meet the protestors.

After police commanded by Kabale District Police Commander Bosco Arop arrived on the scene, Umeme sent out a staff member to talk to the angry protestors.

The Umeme staff member identified himself as Johnson Mwase. The protestors who were carrying placards that read, “We are Tired of Umeme,” then listed their grievances.

A Kigezi Industries director who only identified himself as C.Suleiman said that the factory which employs 250 workers had almost shut down because of infrequent power. He noted that they receive power one day in the week. Kigezi Industries produces matchboxes and assorted plastics.

Penlop Kyampaire, who works in Kabale Central Market, said she had bought a machine for ground nuts that was now idle.

A protestor Sarah Kyogabirwe said that Umeme had actually begun to switch off its public lines which are supposed to receive customer complaints about their service. An angry trader Monday Johnson advised Umeme to pack their bags and leave if they did not wish to provide electricity to consumers anymore.

Mwase told the protestors that Umeme management would look into their concerns and try to find a solution. Katabazi refused to comment on the protest or the loadshedding. She insisted that Umeme management would handle the situation.

Kabale district has been experiencing complete blackouts from Thursday to Monday every week for the last four months.

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