Kampala, Uganda — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 18 November 2011 – Ugandan traders have blockaded several streets in the capital in protest against lengthening power blackouts which they say are crippling businesses around the country, according to witnesses and the police.
Citing “The Daily Monitor”, all-Africa.com reports that Uganda has been facing worsening power shortages in recent months, after the government failed to pay its bills with power generators, leaving homes and businesses in various parts of the country without electricity for days on end.
“There was a large crowd of people on the roads burning tyres and chanting, because they were angry over the power cuts,” a shopkeeper in central Kampala..
He said that parts of the city’s central business district had been without electricity for four days due to load-shedding by the national power distribution company, Umeme. Load-shedding is cutting power to parts of the power system to prevent a breakdown across the grid.
Police confirmed that they had been dispatched to the sites of the demonstrations, but said they had managed to defuse the protest after successfully appealing to Umeme to turn the power back on.
“We fear that if load-shedding goes on people will get more angry, and we hope that all due consideration is taken for people’s work schedules,” Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman Ibin Ssenkumbi told AFP.
Uganda has seen repeated demonstrations this year by protestors angry at rising living costs.
Protests in April led to a brutal clampdown by security forces that left at least 10 people dead across the country.