Ugandans have been pouring out their anger towards government for what they say was a deliberate switch-off of electricity across the country to inhibit citizens from watching Bobi Wine on television.
Kyadondo East legislator, Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine who is currently in the U.S was Wednesday night hosted on Straight Talk Africa, a political talk show hosted by Ugandan born veteran journalist, Shaka Sali.
The weekly program whose focus bends towards issues on the African continent airs on Voice of America (VOA) and is also carried locally by NBS TV.
On the show, Bobi Wine was hosted alongside the Ugandan Ambassador in the U.S, H.E Mull Katende. The discussion centred on Kyagulanyi’s alleged torture, the events surrounding it, his political ambitions and the current socio-economic and political situation in Uganda.
However, for many Ugandans who intended to follow the discussion live on TV, they were left with no choice but do other things. No sooner had the program started (shortly after 9:30pm), than it emerged there was a power black out in most parts of Kampala and elsewhere.
The power was restored at 10:40pm immediately after the TV program had ended.
Many people took to social media to express their disappointment in the authorities, some criticizing the move as nothing short of naivety.
“Did power just go off (at least in the area of Namugongo, Kira, Buwaate etc) because of the live show with Bobi Wine?” tweeted Carol Beyanga. In response to her tweet, other tweeps mentioned several other areas affected by the loadshedding.
Lawyer Andrew Karamagi also tweeted: “In yet another new low, electricity has been switched off in large swathes of Uganda to prevent us from watching Bobi Wine’s interview on Shaka Ssali’s VoA. @VOAShaka @HEBobiwine”.
“The whole country suffers being in darkness because of one man with selfish desires, you can imagine because Bobi Wine has an interview with Shaka Ssali on straight talk Africa… Power goes off country wide, indeed government sneezes when Bobi Wine coughs,” @Isamichaelreal tweeted.
On the Straight Talk Africa Facebook live broadcast, a stream of comments from Ugandans made similar comments regarding the power outage. Some wondered how the same government that has repeatedly dismissed Bobi Wine as being less of a political threat, would be going to lengths to ensure Ugandans were blocked from listening to his views.
In its explanation to the problem however, electricity distributor, UMEME said it was due to system failure at the Owen Falls Dam.
“Power outage! Dear Customers, there is a system failure at owen falls that has caused power to go off in most areas. This is being attended to. Restoration time has not yet been estimated. We shall keep you updated,” UMEME tweeted moments after the blackout.
In a later statement, UMEME said it was a nationwide power outage which Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) were working to restore.
UETCL said four towers that evacuate two major circuits on Nalubale – Kampala line had collapsed due to vandalism causing a “partial nation blackout”.
David Birungi, the Digital Services Manager at UMEME told this website that “Four steel structures were vandalised last nigt and impact started at 7:20pm and peak time, towers collapsed”.
This comes at a time when there is rising disgruntlement towards the political establishment in the wake of Bobi Wine’s ‘people power’ movement which he claims stands for a government that works for the ordinary citizens.
There is speculation that Bobi Wine is eyeing Presidency but he has consistently refrained from confirming this.