The New Times (Kigali)

9 August 2012

Rwanda: Power Utility Decries Theft of Electric Cables

Electric cable wires have been targets of thieves causing financial losses to Energy Water, and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) in Ngoma District.

This was disclosed by Omar Kayibanda, the manager of Ngoma EWSA station, while reacting to a case of a suspect who was arrested early this week.

The suspect (names withheld), was allegedly caught red-handed uprooting a 25 metre electric cable in the village of Karaba, Karembo sector.

Kayibanda said the theft was the eleventh of its kind, adding that the thieves undermined EWSA's efforts to push electricity to the remotest parts of the country.

He urged the public to assist EWSA to identify suspects, noting that Karembo residents had a big role in arresting prime suspects.

"We have lost almost Rwf2 million in a very short time...this is quite disturbing".

"We are experiencing heavy losses...it has been a custom, people take cables and we replace them. We, however, can't keep replacing stolen cables. It has to end," he said.

Police spokesman Superintendent Theos Badege explained that the suspect was also masquerading as an EWSA official.

"Protecting public infrastructure is part of our obligations. All those involved should know that their days are numbered," he said.

Richard Habyarimana, a resident of Kibungo town, claimed that some rogue EWSA officials connive with thieves, but the EWSA official said they were not aware of such claims.

Habyarimana said the thieves occasionally interrupted the supply of power in town, affecting business.

"EWSA must clean its house first...we know some individuals collaborating with the thieves. This makes it a little bit complex! Sometimes business is paralysed just because a cable is stolen somewhere. We need strict measures," he said.

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