A woman identified as Rose Kayinga Kigozi, a teacher at Kabojja International School was rescued from an accident wreck after a transformer crashed on top of her moving car.
The incident happened this week on Tuesday 10th along Dewinton road near former Shimoni Primary school in Kampala. She was rescued and rushed to Mulago national referral hospital with serious injuries including a broken arm and ribs.
If she survives, Kigozi will thank her creator because the unfortunate accident was surrounded by a string of lucky events including a power disconnection that came moments earlier by UMEME Ltd. The dramatic rescue also included a passing private crane lifter vehicle which found her trapped under the weight of the transformer.
According to eye witnesses, Kigozi who was driving a Toyota Noah Registration Number UAT 591S, was alone in the vehicle after she had dropped her son to a nearby washing bay. The driver of the crane lifter vehicle identified only as Abdu of Ndeeba narrated thus: “I arrived at the scene shortly after the incident and realized that the woman was still alive.
I was told by people around that there was no live current and I decided to lift the poles so that she could be rescued,” Abdu narrates.
Rose Kayinga, who is said to be a resident of Luteete along Gayaza road was rushed to Mulago in critical condition. Residents blamed UMEME for keeping rotten poles which ended up causing the accident.
Meanwhile, following the rising deaths of people in the Elgon Sub region due to illegal power connections, the Police has warned and called on the country’s power distributor, UMEME, to intervene on what is now a death trap.
Police Spokesperson, Asan Kasingye, while addressing journalists at Uganda Media Center on the Monday weekly briefing said. “Illegal power connections in the Elgon Sub-region have claimed many lives and this vice is continuing, yet people are losing their lives. I am warning UMEME to come out and intervene so that this stops”
According to the Police reports from Elgon on 7 April, Ivan Wanyanga, 29, a resident of Bunyanga Parish Nabweya Sub-county in Bududa was electrocuted due to an illegal power connection. Also, Difas Kutosi, 30, from the same locality was also electrocuted while attempting to disconnect an illegally-connected electric wire from his house.
According Mbale UMEME, Eastern Region District Manager, Paul Sempiira, there are many illegal power connections; even the number of deaths is only estimated. Local people have decided to keep these deaths a secret and attributing these deaths to snake-bites, however the deaths are high and people continue this practice. However, the local authorities get information about these deaths but they keep them as secrets.
Reports from UMEME declare that every year there a loss of about $10 million due to illegal connections; and at least 61% of power consumed in Bugisu and Bukedi regions is stolen power attributed to illegal connections.
Victims speak out
Micheal Kibeti, a resident of Mbale whose 21-old son, Samson Kibeti, was electrocuted in May 2016 said, “My son died while trying to tap into electric grid.” It is tempting to have power. Local reports in Bulekya, indicate that most of illegal connections in Eastern Uganda are looked at as something normal and roughly 50 people are electrocuted in a week. Evelyline Wanamula, also lost her daughter to illegal power connections last year when the wind blew so hard that the metal wire connecting power fell from the tree and landed on her hand. “My daughter touched the wire while they were playing; and she was electrocuted,” Wanamula moaned.
According to residents from Bulekya illegal connections are very common since its set ups are very cheap and require no certifying documents; whereas the legal power connections need more requirements and money.
Kasingye has promised joint-operations with Umeme to monitor what is taking place. In January , they launched, Fagiya, (Kiswahili for Sweep), spearheaded by the local leaders in which 80 people were arrested and 400 homes and trading centers were disconnected of the illegal connections. However, disputed between the local leaders; LCV’sd Herbert Mulekwa of Sironko District and the RDC Moses Kigai Wamoto, weakened the resolve. The Minister for Energy, Irene Muloni, herself from the area, called upon all local leaders and all security officers to end power theft.