Vandalism of electricity infrastructure is on the rise
The Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs has revealed plans to deploy the army to fight against electricity vandalism following the recent attacks on transmission lines across the country.
The revelation was made by Vincent Ssempijja, Minister of Defence and Veteran Affairs while appearing before Parliament’s Defence and Veteran Affairs Committee to present the 2023/2024 National Budget Framework Paper.
While highlighting some of the challenges the Army is facing, Minister Ssempijja decried the new security threats facing Uganda, saying there will be need to recruit an additional 23,000 able bodied individuals to supplement the current force.
“Now we have demand to provide security to national electricity installations, now you hear people digging whole lines of electricity transmissions in all these areas. So the proposed solution is to set up operations in all the security areas and therefore, we are going to enhance capabilities in terms of tools and machinery we use but also enhance the capacity of our soldiers in terms of numbers and quality,” said Ssempijja.
The development comes at the time a November 2022 report by the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited indicated that Shs37.87Bn will be needed to replace lattice steel towers that were vandalised in the past two years, after vandals destroyed 52 electricity transmission towers destroyed lines between Bujagali Hydropower Dam and Kakira Sugarcane plantation.
This followed the passing into law the Electricity Amendment Bill 2022 that criminalized theft and vandalism of electricity infrastructure, with anyone found guilty of the crime fined Shs1Bn , jailed 15years or carry both punishments.
This followed a proposal by Attorney General, Kiwanuka Kiryowa to amend Section 19 of the bill and vary the proposal of 10years jail term and 20,000 currency points equivalent to Shs400M that had been approved by the Committee and have the penalties increased to 15years jail term and fine of 50,000 currency points equal to Shs1Bn, in order to make the penalties deterrent.