NUP gives gov’t two weeks to fix West Nile roads, electricity

NUP gives gov’t two weeks to fix West Nile roads, electricity

By Andrew Cohen Amvesi

ARUA. The National Unity Platform (NUP) leaders in West Nile have given the government of Uganda an ultimatum of two weeks to connect the region to the national grid and also start working on impassable roads.

The officials said failure to show tangible commitment to the demand will leave them with no option other than mobilizing locals to come on the streets.

While addressing journalists in the NUP office in Arua city on Wednesday, Habib Asega Jogo, the Northern Uganda NUP Coordinator said people of West Nile who vividly participated in welcoming the NRM government to power are now tired of being treated like last choice citizens in the country.

“People of West Nile brought this government to power and that is known historically. People of West Nile received the NRM government warmly at Pakwach bridge without shooting any bullets and came celebrating up to Arua. But the reward given to us for receiving them and fighting to bring this government to power is by sidelining us the people of West Nile from all the national programs,” Jogo said.

“Today we are going to 40 years of this government but all what comes to West Nile is substandard and if it is not substandard then it is denied, if it is not denied, we suffer the torture and that is the thanks we have been receiving as the people of West Nile. A very case in point is the deliberate move to keep us in darkness by refusing to connect the region to the national grid and failure to work on our roads,” Jogo added.

He cited the road from Karuma to Arua which he said is in a horrible situation and the dilly-dallying tactics of singing about the tarmacking of Koboko-Yumbe-Moyo road including the Nebbi-Zombo-Vurra road which are right now in impassable state.

According to Jogo, many people from West Nile are losing their lives on these impassable roads especially along the highway while transporting their loved ones for better health care in Kampala or through accidents.

Meanwhile on electricity, he said the government should consider tapping the national grid from Masindi if connecting the region directly from Jinja or Kampala is difficult.

“If Kampala is very far, at least there is power in Masindi, there is power in Kiryadongo. If shs12bn is much at least you can cut that into two to get shs6bn or shs7bn to work on our power. We want the government to give us a response as the people of West Nile,” Jogo demanded.

Jogo warned that if the government fails to respond to their demand to fix the power and roads in the region in the two weeks ultimatum, they should prepare to receive the people of West Nile on the streets anytime.

Farida Night, a renowned former NRM mobilizer in Arua city who has now crossed over to join NUP as the female mobilizer in the city decried the manner in which women are dying at Arua regional referral hospital and other surrounding health facilities due to the unreliable electricity in the region.

She said as NUP, they are ready to join the top party leadership in mobilizing the people to now come on the streets to demand for better roads and connection of the region to the national grid themselves.

Abdulhanan Ramandhan, the Arua Central Division NUP Registrar acknowledged that indeed the roads in West Nile are in a very poor state, adding that concerning power, an ordinary person even finds it difficult to sell cold things like juice and water in a kiosk to raise money due to the on and off nature of electricity supplied in the region.

Previously, the West Nile region relied on private electricity distribution with two generators on a 23-kilometer line under Uganda Electricity Board (UEB) in 1990’s to 2003, and the problem of finding a source of power gave rise to Nyagak mini-hydro power dam in Zombo district.

But currently, the region receives 3.3 megawatts of the 3.5 megawatts from Nyagak dam which is run by West Nile Rural Electrification Company (WENRECo).

Later, the government also contracted Electromaxx to supplement the efforts of WENRECo with 8.5 megawatts thermal electricity.

However, despite having the capacity to produce 8.5 megawatts, Electromaxx only transmits 6.5 megawatts of power. Of late, the region has been in darkness with numerous cases of load shedding due to the continued lack of fuel for Electromaxx to run its generators so as to generate the much-needed power for the people in the region.

With a projected population of about 3.5 million people, West Nile has for the last 60 years of Uganda’s Independence lost the opportunity to develop due to unreliable industrious power supply in the region, a reason people are demanding to be connected to the national grid.

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