By Obbo Yusuf
“We gave up on lighting town after heavy bills from Umeme ,we couldn’t meet the bills because the street light consume a lot of power of which Municipality couldn’t afford so we were disconnected and now we are trying to lobby solar street lights to light up the town again “said former Iganga’s Mayor David Balaba in 2018 while in an interview with journalists.
For many years, Iganga municipality has been battling with darkness in town after Umeme disconnected power from different street light poles.
Residents reported an increase in criminal activities in Iganga town especially in dark zones ike mbawo zone along old market Street where most of the thugs hind in dark corners and steal from people.
Igulu Arafat, a resident of Nkono 2 in Iganga Northern Division, Iganga municipality said ” We always hear alarms from road users claiming “Munyambe ,Omubbi” literally translated save me from the thieves. Keep shouting, My wallet ,my phone almost every night and these are mostly women who are robbed by some boys who take advantage of dark streets/ corners since they all position themselves in dark corners it instills fears in people to rescue those in danger.”
Moving around Iganga town showed me that, the installed street lighting system on different roads around town broke down due to lack of a clear maintenance strategy, some of the business houses along streets have no security lights and this is attributed to daily records of stealing bulbs whenever they attempt to install them.
The effort to light up the town remain a long journey to achieve residents lament, “Some of the lights became faulty while others were vandalized, this evidence is seen along the Iganga main High Malaba -kampala road where poles were put down by unknown people.”
Here is hope for Light
According to Iganga Municipality sitting mayor Bamu Lulenzi they have partnered with Samanga ICT and Energy LTD company that is willing to assist them to further light up streets in town and 100 solar lights will be installed on 9 roads that include Ngobi road ,Daudi Waiswa Road ,Bulolo road Bikadho road ,Balita,Abbey mukwaya,Oboja,old kaliro road ,Main Street.
The program of installing new solar lights has started beginning with busy centres mostly at night to support the night economy.
Bamu lulenzi has appealed to the town occupants to protect the lights and guard them from vandalism as a combined effort to see Iganga great again.
“We are all responsible for our town, it’s ours let’s protect the lights and see Iganga we shall be proud of again. For many years we have been in darkness now it’s time we enjoy the light “said Bamu lulenzi to business community around Nkono zone while launching installation of solar lights along Iganga main Street.
The Central Division chairperson Abubaker Kasimba said Iganga municipality has resolved to focus on lighting the town and in this financial year 2022-2023 a total of 15 million Ugandan shillings has been budgeted for lighting program in the Central business districts (CBD) to catch up with the lighting on saza road.
“As we speak Saza road the busiest street in Iganga central has been flooded with lights providing a safe environment for night road users and in the next financial year of 2023/24 we are hopping to bring in more six street solar lights that will be installed in the municipality corners.” Said Kasimba
Given that Iganga is the heart of Busoga sub region and links to almost every district in Busoga it is busy 24/7 and there is great need of street lights to support the night economy.
“We are now able to sell our products without fear of thugs ,unlike how it has been in the past ” said Masaba Ivan a chicken vendor on Saza road.