Kalungu- The planned extension of electricity to rural areas of Kalungu District may suffer a setback due to infighting among legislators hailing from the district, Daily Monitor has established.
Although the project is implemented under government’s Rural Electrification programme, some legislators are claiming credit for lobbying for it.
The contestation is between Kalungu West MP Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu, Kalungu East MP Vincent Ssempijja and Kalungu Woman MP Aisha Ssekindi.
The project, which will benefit 20,634 households in Masaka Sub-region, is funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development at Shs555.5b.
The rural electrification project for Kalungu involves civil works for the installation of 139-km Medium Voltage line and 167km low voltage electricity lines. Under this project, households will be connected to electricity at no cost with more 160 transformers distributed to various villages in the district to enable spur development in the area.
Ever since the project was unveiled last month, Mr Ssempijja, Ms Ssekindi and the Kalungu District council chairperson, Mr Richard Kyabaggu, all ruling NRM party members, have been traversing several benefiting villages introducing the contractor for the project to residents, but no Opposition politician in the district has been part of the team –something that has left Mr Ssewungu upset.
Speaking to residents of Lukerere Village, Kalungu Rural Sub-county last week, Mr Ssempijja who also doubles as minister of Agriculture told residents that he personally convinced government to extend electricity to the area.
“We got a loan from Abu Dhabi to distribute electricity in Kalungu way back even before I became a minister, I know each and everything concerning this project. So don’t be fooled, this project is brought by the NRM and you need to support this government,” Mr Ssempijja said.
Opposition members say
But Mr Ssewungu, who is also the chairperson of Democratic Party in the district, insists Mr Ssempijja and other NRM politicians want to use the project as a campaign tool ahead of 2021 elections.
“What is the relevance of moving around villages with the contractor? President Museveni had already launched the same project in 2017 during the by-election for the district chairperson. None of those MPs has spoken about that project in Parliament apart from me,” he said.
“ I am the one who has been putting government on pressure to speed up the process of extending electricity to Kalungu,’’ he added.
But Ms Ssekindi urged Mr Ssewungu not to waste time attacking them, but instead focus on mobilising youth to start up enterprises and benefit from the project.
Mr Christopher Katende, the project coordinator, said despite moving around villages with some politicians, the project will benefit all households regardless of their political inclinations.