UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Two key police barracks responsible for housing officers who provide security to high-profile individuals and institutions, are facing prolonged periods without electricity or water.
Nsambya Police Barracks, the largest of its kind in the country where VIP protection officers reside, has been without power for over two months.
Similarly, Naguru Police Barracks, accommodating officers assigned to anti-riot, ICT, and general duties, has been cut off from the water supply for three months.
These deficiencies affect approximately 10,000 out of the 54,000 officers in the force.
The absence of essential services in these barracks has raised concerns among the police officers residing there. With most officers living in timber dormitories, the use of candles and charcoal stoves for lighting and cooking poses a significant fire hazard, particularly considering the presence of children.
These conditions come at a time when debates on the welfare of security personnel are gaining momentum throughout the country.
The situation at Nsambya Police Barracks has forced many officers to construct makeshift shelters near wastewater channels due to the lack of adequate housing provided by their employers.
To compound matters, the installation of a prepayment meter by Umeme, the power distributor, means that officers are automatically disconnected from the power grid when their purchased units are depleted.
Meanwhile, at Naguru Police Barracks, the officers have access to electricity but have been deprived of water due to the non-payment of utility bills by the police administration.
Last month, the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) threatened to cut off the water supply to additional police barracks due to outstanding arrears.
According to Mr Samuel Apedel, spokesperson for NWSC, negotiations are underway between the police management and the corporation regarding the unpaid bills.
The finance ministry, representing the police, has assured NWSC that the outstanding amounts will be settled.
However, the delay in payment has hindered NWSC’s ability to carry out necessary operations such as procuring water treatment chemicals.
Officers stationed at Naguru Police Barracks have expressed their frustrations over the prolonged water shortage.
They are now compelled to travel over a mile to a spring well in a valley located at Stretcher on Nakawa-Ntinda Road to obtain water for their basic needs.
These recurrent power and water shortages place an additional burden on police officers, who are already struggling to make ends meet with their limited salaries.
Many officers are forced to allocate a significant portion of their income to access services that the government had promised to provide.
President Museveni recently emphasised that security personnel should not have to spend their salaries on services that the government is responsible for.
However, the allocated budget for the police falls short of covering utility expenses. The police’s budget for the Financial Year 2021/2022, amounting to USh916 billion, only provides USh16.24 billion for power and USh11.09 billion for water bills.
To adequately address utility bills, an additional USh86 billion would be required annually. With the current funding, the police can only expect a four-month supply of utilities per year.
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