Security has arrested members of a syndicate of criminals vandalising the solar street lights erected in Kampala to steal the batteries installed to power the lights.
Last week, three people including Ivan Muwonge, Emanuel Kyaligonza and Issa Ssemogerere were seen vandalising the solar street lights erected along Ssezibwa road.
The trio using a Kampala Capital City Authority truck registration number UAZ 840Y were seen climbing up to remove the panel lights that they later moved to a small garage along sixth street in industrial area where the panels were repacked, rebranded and later resold.
According to security, the trio had earlier been cited along the Constitutional Square, Independence monument, Entebbe road traffic lights, Fairway Junction, traffic signal junctions on the stretch between Kabira Country Club and Kiira Road Police Station, Jinja Road ( between UMI and Airtel roundabout), Nile Avenue, Kawempe-Lugoba stretch, and Kibuli dismantling street lights.
It is said that between July last year and now, over 100 batteries installed to power the city solar lights have been stolen or disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
Consequently, on many occasions, criminals use the chance of the absence of street lighting in some areas of the city to target members of the public.
Figures from KCCA indicate that each solar light on the newly constructed road costs shs400 million whereas it costs shs8 million to install a single street light.
When contacted for a comment, KCCA Spokesperson Daniel Niwabiine confirmed the arrest of the three people that he said have since been arraigned before court and remanded.
“They have been taken to court at KCCA and charged with theft. They were remanded to Kitalya prison,”Niwabiine said.
KCCA a few years ago embarked on the installation of solar street lights under the second phase of Kampala Institutional and Infrastructural Development Project (KIIDP-2) funded by World Bank.
However, if the vandalism continues, such efforts to light the streets seems to be a waste.